Draft horse of the energy transition: wind turbines for climate protection | free press

Berlin (dpa) – Significantly more new onshore wind turbines will be built in Germany in the coming years – to create climate targets. The expansion is now progressing better. However, from the point of view of the energy sector, the level is far from adequate.

Federal Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier (CDU) also wants considerably more speed. “I expect that we will have to increase the expansion of renewable energy by up to a third,” said the CDU politician of the German news agency.

“For the coming coalition negotiations, I will make concrete proposals for new enlargement goals,” Altmaier said. This applies in particular to offshore and onshore wind energy and to photovoltaic energy. “Until 2030, this can only be achieved through a national effort.”

However, even now there are often many local protests against wind turbines: the lack of natural resources in the landscape, too close to residential buildings, noise, conflicts over species protection, are the criticisms. In addition, the systems are getting higher and higher.

It will be difficult without wind turbines

However, without many more wind turbines it will be difficult to realize the energy transition – say goodbye to fossil fuels. “With the drastic tightening of Germany’s climate protection law in June and the submission of the new EU climate package in July, it is clear that we need to significantly step up our climate protection efforts,” said Altmaier. “In 2030, for example, we will use about 15 percent more electricity, because there will be many more electric cars on our roads and many more heat pumps in our homes than previously assumed. At the same time, we will shut down all nuclear plants as planned, and many coal plants will be shut down sooner than expected. That is why we need many more new wind turbines and solar roofs than previously thought.”

After two difficult years of expansion, significantly more new onshore wind turbines will be connected to the grid in the first half of 2021. According to industry information, 240 wind turbines with a capacity of 971 megawatts have been installed – in terms of power, this is a 62 percent increase compared to the same period last year. Because 135 wind turbines with a capacity of 140 megawatts were shut down, the so-called net expansion amounted to 831 megawatts.

More speed required

The bottom was over, Hermann Albers, president of the Federal Wind Energy Association, said Tuesday. However, in order to achieve the climate targets at European and national level, enlargement must be accelerated. “We need significantly more renewable electricity,” said Matthias Zelinger, Managing Director of VDMA Power Systems. Wind energy must be the strong draft horse.

There are currently about 29,000 wind turbines in Germany with a total capacity of more than 55 gigawatts. The previous federal government target was 71 gigawatts by 2030. The energy sector is calling for an increase to 95 gigawatts by 2030. Long planning and approval processes are seen as obstacles to expansion, and many lawsuits delay the commissioning of new plants. However, from the point of view of the energy sector, probably the biggest problem is that there is not enough designated space.

Target: Two percent of the area for wind energy

Albers called for binding targets so that two percent of the area in the federal states would be used for wind energy. Many countries are still a long way from this goal. There is a strong north-south divide. The “windlands” with the most installed systems are Lower Saxony, Brandenburg and Schleswig-Holstein.

The “mass carrier” wind will also be indispensable in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, Albers said. The two countries should provide more space. The demand for renewable energy is increasing strongly in these regions. Albers referred to plans by automakers to focus more on electromobility.

Above all, the 10-H rule is controversial in Bavaria. It states that a wind turbine must be at least ten times as high as residential buildings. In concrete terms, this means: if a wind turbine is 200 meters high, the housing must be at least 2 kilometers away. This is a much stricter regulation than in other countries. The 10-H rule should be abolished, Zelinger said.

Altmaier said new renewable energy expansion targets should be broken down by state to clarify exactly how much, when and by where to expand. «I will make clear, together with the energy ministers of the federal states, what potential there is. Ideally, a coherent picture will quickly emerge, otherwise serious discussions will ensue: the statutory expansion objectives and the spatial planning of the federated entities must eventually match. This is a national task. The four years to 2025 will be the most exciting of the energy transition to date.”

Green Chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock accused the Union of a blockade policy: “Wind energy expansion is still far behind what is needed, also because the Union has been hindering it for years,” she said. “Whoever says climate protection should also build wind turbines.”

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