The latest draft for Germany’s coal exit legislation seen by Recharge no longer contains a damaging distance rule for onshore wind planned by the country’s government.
A previous version of the law proposal that is part of a wider climate package had still contained a country-wide introduction of a minimum distance of 1km between new wind farms and settlements.
Plans for the measure had led to an outcry by the wind sector as such a rule could reduce areas available for onshore wind by 20-50%, according to calculations published earlier this year by Germany’s environmental agency UBA.
According to Green Party Member of Parliament Oliver Krischer, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet next week is slated to approve the coal exit law proposal “presumably without rules for minimum distances to wind energy installations.”
The economics ministry, when asked by Recharge, declined to comment whether it may come up with yet another draft of the legislation before the next cabinet meeting, and whether it could re-introduce the wind distance rule into the proposal.
The legislation aims at a German exit from coal and lignite by 2038 at the latest to put into practice the recommendations presented in early 2019 by a society-wide commission on the coal exit.
As in-between steps, Germany’s hard coal generating capacity is slated to be reduced to 15GW by 2022, and 8GW by 2030, while renewable energies are planned to fill the gap.
The latest draft, however, doesn’t include exact targets for the reduction of lignite capacity as the coal exit commission had recommended.
An already existing distance rule in Bavaria – Germany’s largest state by territory - of ten times the tip height has brought new installations there to a near standstill.
It is yet unclear, whether the government may insert the distance rule again in a different kind of legislation at a later stage.
According to Germany's wind energy federation BWE, the distance rule is still being discussed among Merkel's governing parties, and could find its way into legislation again in the spring together with other amendments to the country's Renewable Energies Act (EEG).
Economics and energy minister Peter Altmaier had argued the distance rule would raise acceptance among the population and thus in the medium term actually help the possibility of building more onshore wind in the country – a view strongly rejected by wind groups.