German government reaches agreement on distance rule

20 May 2020

Germany’s coalition government says that it will be up to individual states to decide whether to apply minimum distance rules for wind turbine developments.

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier announced on Monday that the coalition factions have agreed to an ‘opt-in’ process for a proposed distance regulation that would impose a minimum of 1000m between new wind turbines and nearby dwellings.

The distance regulation had initially been proposed at a federal level in order to improve public acceptance of new wind farms, but was widely criticised by the wind industry over concerns that it would eliminate large areas of land from potential development.

Now individual states will be able to decide whether they want to use the regulation, Altmaier said in a press conference. “Today's agreement on the coalition fractions is an excellent result for the energy transition and climate protection. And it is also a strong stimulus for the economy and employment, especially in these difficult times.”

German wind energy association BWE said: “It is good that there will be no minimum distances for wind energy on land regulated by federal law. It is important that the federal states come up with manageable regulations that are tailored to their circumstances.

Altmaier added that the government is also planning to make more use of digital technologies in the planning and approval procedures for wind farms to speed up developments.

Several GW of onshore wind energy capacity is thought to be held up in Germany’s planning system, resulting in a drastic slump in development.



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