The Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament, has approved legislation to avoid harm to renewable energy projects from Covid-19-related delays or problems.

Rapidly pushed through parliament, an amendment to the country’s Renewable Energies Act (EEG) extends deadlines for the construction of wind or solar farms for six months to allow for delays caused by contact restrictions or lockdowns.

“With the legal changes we make sure that the corona pandemic won’t lead to delays in the Energiewende (energy transition),” economics and energy minister Peter Altmaier said.

Evidence for the application under a special compensation scheme can be submitted until 30 November.

The amendment also permanently scraps privileges for community power projects that had caused distortions in Germany’s first onshore wind tenders in 2017, and subsequently led to a delay or the non-construction of many projects.

A separate law for planning security allows for telephone of video conferences in permitting processes as digital alternatives for public hearings.

Germany’s renewables sector criticised that the mini reform of the EEG didn’t remove longer-standing obstacles to the expansion of renewables, or provide measures to actually reach the country’s target of 65% renewables in the power mix by 2030.

“For months we have been promised solutions, be it the 18-point-plan of the economics minister for wind power he presented in the fall of 2019, or for photovoltaics,” Simone Peter, president of the renewable energy federation (BEE), said earlier this week.

“In late January at the BEE New Year reception, minister Altmaier had announced a rapid end to the PV [support] cap, but nothing has happened so far.”