The construction of new wind turbines on land in Germany fell last year to its lowest level in more than 20 years. According to preliminary figures, only 276 new wind turbines were commissioned with a total output of 940 megawatts. Compared to the previous year, this is a decrease in output of more than 60 percent, compared to the average of the expansion of the past five years a decrease of 77 percent. This emerges from an evaluation by the specialist agency for wind energy on land, which is available to the German press agency.
Long permits, little space, many lawsuits
Most of the power went to the grid in Brandenburg last year with 57 plants and around 194 megawatts (MW), followed by Lower Saxony with 54 plants and 181 megawatts and North Rhine-Westphalia with 38 plants and 127 megawatts. In the largest federal state of Bavaria in terms of area, just six new wind turbines went into operation with an output of around 18 megawatts. In Bavaria, the strictest regulation applies to the distance between wind turbines and residential buildings nationwide. In Baden-Württemberg, which is governed by green and black, just 5 new wind turbines with an output of around 17 megawatts were added, and in Hessen, by black and green, four with a total output of around 14 megawatts.
Historically, according to the specialist agency, the annual expansion was last in 1998 below 1000 megawatts. Because 69 plants were also decommissioned, the so-called net addition in 2019 was only 854 megawatts. The slump had already been hinted at in the course of the year. The main reasons are long approval procedures, insufficiently designated areas and many lawsuits. Many local initiatives against the construction of wind turbines have been formed on site.
Wind energy association fears "green electricity gap" in Germany
The industry sounds the alarm. "The politically caused slump in new buildings in 2019 harbors enormous dangers for the achievement of the German climate protection goals and also jeopardizes the value creation network of the German wind energy industry," said the President of the German Wind Energy Association, Hermann Albers, the German Press Agency. Industry associations had still expected an expansion volume of around 1,500 megawatts for 2019 in July.
Renewable energies would be urgently needed. "The federal government must now quickly implement the 18-point work plan from the Federal Ministry of Economics," said Albers. For example, this provides for greater legal certainty in regional planning and accelerating approvals.
"This is the only way to stabilize the expansion of onshore wind energy. If this does not succeed, Germany threatens to run into a green electricity gap," said Albers. He referred to an analysis by the institute EWI Cologne. "Such an undersupply of renewable energies endangers the investment decisions of German industry, for example in the area of electromobility."
Quarrel in the grand coalition
In addition to solar power, electricity from wind power is a cornerstone of renewable energies. The Federal Government has set itself the goal of increasing the share of green electricity in Germany's gross electricity consumption to 65 percent by 2030. According to figures from the Energy Association BDEW, it was 43 percent in 2019. The last nuclear power plant will be shut down in 2022, and electricity from coal should end by 2038 at the latest.
The black-red coalition has had a dispute over the further expansion of renewable energies for weeks. The main question is how to increase public acceptance for wind farms. The original draft of the coal exit law contained a regulation for a minimum distance of 1,000 meters from wind turbines to residential buildings – the most controversial aspect of the coalition is that the minimum distance should already apply to more than five houses.
Politicians are also debating how citizens and communities can be rewarded for wind turbines in their area in future in order to increase acceptance for wind farms. A working group is to work out exactly what that looks like by the end of March.
. (tagsToTranslate) Renewable energy (t) wind power