Putting in the hard graft to remedy Germany’s onshore-wind permitting problems
Just 120MW of projects are, on average, being granted permits each month, compared with up to 360MW per month pre-2017.
An annual 1.44GW of newly permitted capacity is far too little to enable Germany to meet its climate and renewable targets.
Tackling this crisis is a top priority for FA Wind, a German agency dedicated to steady and sustainable expansion of onshore wind to help achieve an energy system based on 100% renewables to 2050.
Antje Wagenknecht, managing director since summer 2018, and her team are contributing their expertise and effort through the FA Wind "permitting platform" set up in July.
This brings together representatives from national, state, regional and municipal governments and planning authorities, environment and nature protection organisations, project planners, wind-farm owners and industry to identify and analyse the problems, and try to fix them.
This is no easy task when faced with the anti-wind politics of states such as Brandenburg, North Rhine Westfalia and Bavaria, and the demands of species and nature protection set by strict European Union rules.
One small error in any of the 110 regional development plans (which can take ten years to complete) can send the effort back to the drawing board.
The upshot can be a virtual moratorium on wind permitting until the plan has been rectified.
The permitting logjam in Schleswig-Holstein since 2015, for example, due to regional planning errors, looks likely to continue until 2020.