Municipal wind site planning easier

Regional planning rules have been amended in Germany to include three new definitions for earmarking wind energy sites. They have been in force since the start of the year. The aim is to give parishes and regional councils more flexibility for steering wind energy development, says planning expert Norbert Allnoch of Münster University. Areas for wind energy use can now be defined as "priority," "with reservation," or "wind concentration." Priority means that in a particular area, wind energy is preferred over other kinds of development such as building construction. "With reservation" means that wind is weighed against other development interests. If a site is classified as a "wind concentration" area, it means clear boundaries have been defined where wind development can take place -- yet this ruling can be challenged in public hearings. Regardless of these new definitions, Allnoch says that if a parish fails to produce a plan for wind use in its areas, wind turbines automatically reach privileged planning status, allowing them to be installed anywhere that does not interfere with the public interest.

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