Germany

Germany

Germany crisis meeting produces 'lean results' -- updated

The German wind energy crisis summit on 5 September concluded that "the problems are well known, it's a matter of implementing the solutions", according to Stefan Kapferer, chairman of German energy and water federation, BDEW. But lawmakers pledge action within three weeks.

 Germany's economy minister Peter Almaier (second left) and other regional German ministers address a press conference after meeting members of the wind industry (pic: BMWi)
Germany's economy minister Peter Almaier (second left) and other regional German ministers address a press conference after meeting members of the wind industry (pic: BMWi)

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Prior to the meeting, called by Germany‘s federal economy minister, Peter Altmaier, industry groups released a ten-point plan listing key aspects to the get the industry back on track.

The plan was unveiled by BDEW, wind energy association BWE, the power systems division of German engineering federation VDMA, municipal utility association VkU and NGOs World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, Germanwatch and Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH).

Their proposals are meant to counteract the hurdles in project permitting, the successes of loud and increasingly professional anti-wind groups and other problems, which have reached a critical mass causing the drastic slowdown in German onshore wind installations in 2018 and 2019.

However, the high-level meeting, which lasted just two hours, only yielded "lean results".

Constantin Zerger, head of energy and climate protection at DUH, called on the minister to now "show leadership quality" and persuade federal and state governments to adopt the federal coalition government‘s 2030 target of 65% renewables in electric generation.

Zerger also argued for a strategy on making land available for wind energy to ensure targets are reached, to make repowering of old projects possible, and get rid of rules on distance from turbines to housing, which rule out wind developments, not least because existing legislation sets limits on noise and emissions to protect citizens living close to sites.

Pledge

Altmaier has pledged to draw up an action plan "within the next two to three weeks" to tackle the dramatic slowdown in German onshore wind installations and permitting, said Hermann Albers, president of Germany's wind energy association BWE.

Altmaier "agreed to ensure that the procedures for onshore wind projects are to be significantly accelerated," according to Albers.

To meet Germany‘s 65% target for renewable energies in electricity generation to 2030, 4.5-5GW of wind capacity needs to be built annually, stressed Albers.

Only 860MW was permitted in the first seven months of 2019. In the whole of 2018, 1.5GW was approved, which is less than half the 3.6GW of capacity auctions that were due in 2019 and subsequently undersubscribed.

Altmaier should deliver his action plan before 20 September when the federal government will present a federal climate protection law, aimed at bringing Germany back into line with national and European Union CO2 reduction targets reductions.

Major "Fridays for Future" climate demonstrations are scheduled in many cities on that day.

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