Germany plans to speed up wind lawsuits

German wind groups hope a new law will stop lengthy court battles holding up the construction and commissioning of onshore wind farms

A lack of permitted onshore wind farms eligible to compete in tenders has led to consistently undersubscribed German auctions in recent years (pic credit; Siemens)

Germany’s federal cabinet has approved a draft law designed to accelerate lawsuits against already-permitted infrastructure projects – including onshore wind farms.

The Investment Acceleration Act would remove the role of the lower courts in cases against onshore wind construction, which renewable energy organisations hope will speed up legal proceedings.

It would also enable project construction to continue while the case is going through the courts, minimising delays to the commissioning of approved projects.

However, the law would not help speed up the permitting process for wind farms, German wind energy association BWE pointed out.

The draft act still needs approval from the German parliament before being passed into law.

A lack of permitted onshore wind farms eligible to compete at tender has led to repeatedly undersubscribed German auctions in recent years.

BWE president Hermann Albers welcomed the plans for an accelerated legal process and increased security of under-construction wind farms.

However, Albers called for more to be done, including for the full implementation of an 18-point plan agreed last year to help the country’s onshore wind sector.

The plan includes measures to speed up permitting, reduce the number of night-time blinking lights to warn planes flying overhead and provide a dedicated frequency for telecommunications between renewables and network operators to help fully digitalise the industry.

It was announced by the German minister for economic affairs and energy Peter Altmaier in October following a summit meeting between government and industry representatives, and was due to be implemented between 2019 and 2020.