Sweeping distance rules for onshore wind could further reduce already scarce land resources and impede reaching the wind expansion necessary for Germany’s renewable energy targets, a new study by the country’s environmental agency (UBA) found.

Already a minimum distance of 1,000 metres between wind farms and settlements would reduce the areas currently available for wind developments by 20-50%, the study Impacts of minimum distances between wind turbines and settlements said.

“An expansion of wind energy capacity compared to the status quo on the remaining area would be practically impossible,” the study concludes.