States will also be able to trade land between each other

Germany will oblige states to designate 2% of their land for wind turbines

Germany will oblige states to designate 2% of their land for wind turbines

The new law aims to push the country’s energy mix from 50% renewables to 80% in the next eight years

This week, the German 'traffic light' governing coalition presented its new renewable energy package, aiming to streamline the approval process of new projects and expand existing production capacities. One of the big hurdles for the German sustainable energy expansion in recent years has been the multitude of regulations stopping wind turbine projects.

The key policy for the expansion is that state governments in the country will have to designate a portion of their land (2%) specifically for wind farms or risk the federal government suspending certain laws like the one concerning distance to residential areas.

According to a recent analysis by the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research in Baden-Württemberg, renewables cover 49% of Germany’s energy. The lion’s share of that, or around 21%, came from onshore wind turbines and 17% from solar. Researchers also pointed out that wind expansion has slowed down due to regulatory hurdles and long, arduous approval processes.

Streamlining wind power

The most crucial part of the renewable energy package is the state land mandate. Essentially, that means that every federal state in Germany will have to designate around 2% of their land for wind turbines over the next ten years.

In smaller states like Bremen, Hamburg and Berlin, that number is just 0.5%. At the same time, in windier states like Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate, that share goes up to 2.2%.

Importantly, there are no provisions telling states how to designate that land or where it should be, which means decisions and procedures are up to them. Local governments can still follow minimum distance to residential areas rules that have been a big problem for wind energy projects in Germany in the past.

State governments can even enter into trade schemes with each other, where one state could lease land to another to meet its target.

Furthermore, the package aims to standardise planning and approval, for example, when projects undergo an ecological assessment. This also includes streamlining the whole process, as up to this point, every state had its own regulations in place.

According to an official statement, the plan aims to make German energy 80% renewable in the next eight years and the new regulations should help to boost the creation of new projects in the near future.



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