The German government must take measures to rapidly speed up the approval process for onshore wind projects and remove other obstacles as the number of permits is growing insufficiently, putting the ambitious expansion target at risk, wind energy association BWE said on Thursday.
In the first three months of 2023, permits were granted to projects with a combined capacity of 689 MW and this is far too insufficient considering the targeted expansion rate.
Germany will tender 12.84 GW of onshore wind this year and in order to allocate the entire capacity, projects of at least 10 GW in total must be approved by the end of the year, according to BWE.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, BWE's president Hermann Albers stressed that a lot must be done, especially in terms of the approval procedure, and the need for action is urgent.
In addition to their low number, the new permits are granted mainly to projects in northern Germany where the existing wind capacity is concentrated, while the south is still lagging behind. The northern states of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony are once again leaders with 231.4 MW and 139.5 MW of the total new permits this year.
In a presentation published on Thursday, BWE outlined a number of hurdles to the accelerated rollout of onshore wind energy in Germany and these include:
- long approval procedures. It takes about two years on average to get a permit for the construction of a wind farm but in some cases, it is much longer. In Hesse, for example, the average period for getting a permit is around three years.
- lack of areas designated for wind turbines. Under the government plan, 1.4% of Germany's territory must be made available for wind energy by 2027 and then expanded to 2% by 2032. According to BWE, the interim goal must be removed and the final 2% must be reached by the end of 2025.
- complicated regulations for the transport of components
The association has also come up with a number of proposals for action ahead of the first Wind Energy Summit, which will take place on March 22 and will address the challenges faced by the industry.
The recommendations include proposals for the selection of more areas for wind energy; simplifying repowering procedures; speeding up the approval process to seven months and limiting the options for an extension; raising the threshold when an environmental impact assessment is required; a more effective design of appeal procedures; amendments to the Federal Nature Conservation Act that would be applicable by all federal states; reevaluation of the minimum distance required to federal highways; simplifying and accelerating transport permits; revision of the monument protection rules.
Choose your newsletter by Renewables Now. Join for free!