“Repowering” New boost for wind power?
Status: 22.06.2021 3:09 p.m.
The expansion of wind power has not progressed as planned for years. Now the grand coalition has agreed on a number of measures that should give the industry a new boost. This week, the new Federal Climate Protection Act should pass the Bundestag and Bundesrat. It stipulates that Germany will become greenhouse gas neutral by 2045 – five years earlier than planned. By 2030, 65 percent of climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions are to be saved compared to 1990. In order to achieve this goal, along with other measures, renewable energies must also make a major contribution. Wind power is one of them. The planned changes are essentially about making it easier to replace existing wind turbines, known as repowering. The new regulation is intended to facilitate the approval of new windmills at old locations and thus enable repowering that maintains the location. This also applies to wind farms that reach up to 350 meters from residential areas – provided that the loads from the new systems are not higher than the old ones. The aim is to make better use of existing wind sites with more modern system technology, said the politicians Matthias Miersch from the SPD and Stephan Stracke from the CDU.
Energy transition in Germany The Wind power expansion stagnates massively
The expansion of wind energy in Germany decreased dramatically in some cases in 2020.
There is still a lack of space
Lothar Schulze, CEO of the Wind Power Plants Association, maintains that repowering is facilitated “basically makes sense”, but criticizes the unchanged strict requirements for species protection. In addition, there is still a lack of space for new wind farms if the goal set by the federal government of reserving two percent of Germany’s land area for wind farms is to be achieved. Currently 0.9 percent of the area is designated for this, but only 0.5 percent can be used with modern systems. “This means that another 1.5 percent of the federal territory is missing, which means that a giant step has to be taken in the next legislative period”, said Schulze in conversation with tagesschau.de .
SPD parliamentary deputy Miersch also regretted that no agreement had been reached on binding land commitments for wind power. But at least he spoke of one “bridge” in the next legislative period. Green parliamentary group leader Anton Hofreiter criticized that there was only one “a couple of small funding programs” instead of “fundamental reforms”. “Very important and positive” On the other hand, association chief Schulze finds the increase in the tender volume for wind power to four gigawatts agreed for the coming year. However, it is only one “small compensation” the deterioration that has taken place since 2017. In fact, not all tenders were actually implemented between 2017 and 2020. “We would therefore have liked a perspective beyond 2022”, says Schulze. But this task will probably only be taken over by the new government.
Energy generation Why the expansion of wind power fails
Industry representatives and politics are discussing how the expansion of wind power can be accelerated again.
Further loosening is necessary
Overall, however, the wind power industry is satisfied with the planned innovations. Material errors and limitations would be corrected. Despite the still too low approval procedures, the quantities were sufficient for 2022 and, due to the catch-up, also in the following years. The next government must, however, continue to promote the expansion of wind energy through further easing, also in the field of species protection, in order to increase the output to 5,000 MW per year, said Association Board Member Schulze.
Nevertheless, the controversial cases in the construction of new wind turbines have steadily increased in recent years. Since 2018, the expansion of wind energy has stagnated at 1,000 to 1,500 MW per year. In addition to the growing resistance from the population, this is also due to the different administrative practices from state to state. The industry also has the impression that new hurdles are always being sought. In the meantime, monument protection has also been included in the approval process for wind turbines. The compromise reached between the Union and the SPD over the past year also caused criticism from the industry Minimum distance from wind turbines to residential buildings . After that, each federal state can now determine which distance is permitted. This can be 1000 meters or less