Finally compromises for the expansion of wind power and solar projects in Germany
26.05.2020  16:55

WIndpower Germany, Windfarm, Photovoltaic, Distance rules

After months of bickering, the CDU and SPD finally reached agreement at the end of May on three very important issues for the wind and solar industry. The biggest bone of contention had been the distance rule for the expansion of onshore wind energy. Due to increasing protests by residents and citizens, CDU politicians had demanded a uniform minimum distance of 1000 meters from residential areas last year. Federal Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) had initially wanted to implement this as part of the coal exit law. However, there were large protests from other parties, from industry and associations.

After strong criticism, however, the Economics Minister's proposal was removed from the speaker's draft. New distance rule, solar cover and the planned increase in the expansion targets for offshore wind power should now be incorporated into a separate law for renewable energies.

A "compromise" was reached for onshore wind energy: Instead of a uniform federal regulation, each state should now be able to decide for itself whether or not to implement the 1000-metre distance rule. However, this "compromise" is actually only a shift of the dispute to the level of the federal states. For the wind industry, more than 90% of the market would have disappeared with a uniform nationwide regulation (1000-metre distance).

The German wind market had just come to a virtual standstill due to citizen protests, lawsuits and years of approval procedures. Germany, the former front-runner, had been set back several places in Europe in the past two years anyway.

The solar industry can breathe a sigh of relief because in a few weeks Germany would have exceeded the 52 gigawatt limit, which would have meant stopping expansion while retaining the existing regulations.
This would have been a disaster for the solar industry.

Politicians had already promised to lift the limit six months ago - but politically the abolition of the solar cap was coupled with the necessary agreements on wind power. Now it remains to be seen when the new regulations will finally be effectively implemented in laws and regulations.