The leading political figures in the conservative CDU/CSU party, which looks likely to stay in power if current opinion polls results are accurate, have declared current German ambitious climate targets will not be watered down, and the Paris commitments will be honoured.
This means wind expansion has to reach 5GW per year — anything less will not be enough, said Hermann Albers, president of the German wind federation Bundesverband Windenergie (BWE).
He was speaking shortly after the doors opened at the Husum Wind event (12-15 September), when a political clash emerged within the event’s partner state, North Rhine Westfalia (NRW).
A new conservative-liberal CDU/FDP state government plans to increase the minimum distance allowed between wind turbines and dwellings to 1,500 metres, ruling out most future wind development in NRW — which happens to have a substantial lignite mining and power station sector.
There are other states better suited to wind energy, claimed Christoph Dammermann, secretary of state in the NRW economic ministry.
Rainer Priggen, chairman of NRW's renewable energy association, said this was a misguided view.
In 2016, 2017, and 2018, investments by medium and small enterprises in wind energy developments in NRW amount to around €1 billion, compared with €1 billion in a single lignite power station.
Priggen said the government seems happy to risk undermining the wind business, putting some 20,000 wind energy jobs at risk but if 9,000 jobs in the lignite sector are put at risk for climate reasons the state government consider this as a collapse of the economic structure.
At a European level, BWE called for stronger orientation to market forces in the wind sector, in parallel with the introduction of a CO2 tax in a joint initiative by France, Germany, Netherlands and Italy and others willing to participate.