The Bundesländer – Germany’s federal states – need to do their job and remove obstacles to wind power permitting or plans for an accelerated Energiewende will fail despite Berlin unleashing the most comprehensive package of energy reforms seen in decades, economics and climate minister Robert Habeck warned.
The federal government in amendments earlier this year to the Renewable Energies Act (EEG) and the Wind at Sea Act (WindSeeG) set aside 2% of the country’s land mass for onshore wind, while reconciling the massive boost with other factors such as nature protection and military needs, the minister told an enthusiastic audience at the WindEnergy Hamburg industry event.
But German states now must do more than the “business as usual” of the past years to ease the country’s torturously slow permitting procedures in order to more than double wind on land from 47GW now to 115GW by 2030, and offshore wind from 7.8GW to 30GW in the same period, he said.
“If we are to meet our expansion targets, we will need to add up to 10GW of new capacity [per year]. 10GW that is more or less exactly the number of wind turbines in the approval procedure in the Bundesländer,” Habeck said.
“I have to urge the Bundesländer to also do their job!… the German government can write any law we want, if the work is not done on the ground, we will fail,” Habeck said to applause from wind sector executives.
The minister from the Green Party was particularly impatient with Germany’s largest state, Conservative-led Bavaria, which so far has refused to scrap its hugely damaging 10H distance rule that stipulates that any new wind farm must be built at a distance of at least 10 times the tip height of turbines from the nearest settlement, even if consisting only of a few buildings.
“I can’t understand why in some Bundesländer obligations to prohibit wind energy are still law. If it were up to me, I would definitely have liked to see the 10H regulation in Bavaria pushed away long time ago,” Habeck said, but added he didn’t see a majority in his own Social Democrat-Green-Liberal coalition government to force Bavaria to scrap the rule that has brought the wind expansion in the state to an almost complete standstill.