Germany approves draft law to boost onshore wind expansion

Image by Rainer Weisflog.

June 15 (Renewables Now) - Germany’s federal cabinet today passed a draft law that obliges each state to set aside a minimum amount of land for the installation of wind turbines in a drive to increase and accelerate the expansion of onshore wind in the country.

Under the new legislation, the federal states must allocate between 1.8% and 2.2% of their area for turbines by the end of 2032. At the same time, the city-states of Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg would only have to allocate 0.5%.

So far, only 0.8% of the country's area has been designated for wind energy, of which only 0.5% is actually used for this purpose. The overall 2032 target for Germany is 2%, with an interim goal of 1.4% by end-2026.

Economy minister Robert Habeck stated that the government has taken into account wind conditions, nature and species protection, as well as spatial arrangements when determining the amount of space set aside by each individual state.

“It is up to the states to decide how to meet their area targets,” he commented.

The planning process is also being simplified, with distance regulations for wind turbines not applying if states fail to achieve their targets by the set deadlines.

The draft law also amends the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG) to make it so protected landscape areas can also be included in the search for wind farm sites. The changes enable “tighter, faster and legally secure procedures” for the wind power expansion, whilst maintaining high ecological protection standards and providing long-term support for endangered species through a new species aid programme, according to environment minister Steffi Lemke.

The goal is to introduce the draft legislation to the Bundestag lower house of parliament by the end of the month and for it to become effective early next year.

Germany targets increasing its onshore wind capacity to 115 GW by the end of the decade.

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