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PNE Wind considers challenge to offshore law

GERMANY: PNE Wind is gearing up for a legal battle over potentially unconstitutional aspects of Germany's new Offshore Wind Energy Act.

PNE Wind's headquarters in Cuxhaven, Germany
PNE Wind's headquarters in Cuxhaven, Germany

Under the new legislation, the German wind developer faces stranded investments of €22.6 million in far-shore offshore wind projects with a potential total of 2.24GW.

The offshore law was passed along with the Renewable Energy Act revision (known as EEG 2017) by the German parliament in August and takes effect from the start of 2017.

It rules that all ongoing permitting procedures for offshore wind projects will end on 1 January 2017 if the projects were not permitted, had a plan approval issued, or a public hearing heard on a permit application before 1 August 2016.

This appears to ring the death knell for PNE’s Atlantis II and III, Jules Verne, Nemo and Nautilus projects, without any form of compensation due for company investments that were made in good faith on the basis of previous legislation.

"Not only PNE Wind, the whole offshore wind sector is up in arms over this," a company spokeman said.

PNE Wind reported on 11 August that it has already spent a total of €10.8 million on the development of the Jules Verne, Nemo and Nautilus projects, all slated to have 480MW. It has also spent €11.8 million on Atlantis II and III, both planned for a 400MW capacity.

A complaint before the constitutional court "certainly has a chance of success on grounds of infringements of the rule of law, and of legitimate expectations of the law", Martin Schulte, a legal professor at Dresden University, told Windpower Monthly.

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