German government calls wind sector crisis meeting

15 September 2019

Germany’s federal government has pledged to make reforms to boost the country’s ailing onshore wind energy sector.

Economy and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier says that the government will draw up an action plan by the end of September to help remove barriers to turbine installation.

The action plan is likely to include measures to speed up permitting procedures for onshore wind energy in Germany and requirements for state governments to implement more wind-friendly policies.

The move follows crisis talks in Germany between the federal and state governments, the wind sector and citizen’s groups. The talks focused on the collapse in growth of onshore wind in Germany over the last two years.

After the talks, Germany’s federal Ministry of Economy and Energy (BMWi) emphasised the importance of the onshore wind sector to Germany’s energy transition and the 65 per cent renewable electricity target by 2030 that has been set.

According to WindEurope, Germany is set to install less than 1.5 GW of onshore wind this year, down from average annual installations of over 4 GW over the previous five years.

The slowdown has been attributed to the failure of the auction system in 2017 and an underlying problem obtaining permits for onshore projects. There are thought to be around 11 GW of projects stuck in permitting procedures, WindEurope says.

It now takes developers over two years to gain permits for onshore wind farms, compared to 10-12 months previously, due to increasingly complex permitting procedures, strict environmental rules and objections from citizen’s action groups.

“Onshore wind in Germany is in trouble. This threatens both Germany’s and the EU’s renewables targets,” said WIndEurope CEO Giles Dickson. “We’re looking for the German Federal and State governments to provide strong signals on how they’re going to fix the crisis in Europe’s biggest wind market.

“That should include a commitment on a target of at least 2% of land reserved for onshore wind farms, which is now a widely-accepted goal. Federal, State and local authorities should also commit to make wind farm permitting easier and faster.

“Germany will only reach its renewable energy targets if it takes urgent steps to put onshore wind back on track.”


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