For the accelerated expansion of wind energy in Germany, there is basically enough space for new power plants and the possibility of replacing older ones. These assessments included a study commissioned by the Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection and TÜV Nord.
However, politicians must continue to ensure that the desired higher speed of onshore wind power expansion is only possible with trade-offs in terms of landscape and nature protection.
Replace older wind turbines
In the opinion of Tüv Nord, the replacement and modernization of older wind turbines should not be neglected. So-called energy renewal offers enormous additional potential to accelerate the implementation of the energy transition, CEO Dirk Stenkamp said Wednesday. Don’t “lose sight of it as it can play an important role in addition to building new plants.” The Hanover-based company is one of the three large TÜV groups. He also evaluates wind turbines and advises on energy projects.
The green share of wind, solar, biomass and hydropower in electricity production in Germany is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. According to the plans of the federal minister of economy and climate protection, Robert Habeck (the Greens), by 2030, 80 percent. all electricity is to come from renewable sources, and by 2035 almost 100 percent. In 2021, according to industry information, it was around 42 percent.
Ambitious expansion goals
“From today’s perspective, the expansion goals of the traffic light coalition are very ambitious and demanding,” said Tüv Nord. He was slow for a long time. In the meantime, older wind turbines threatened to be fully exempted from subsidies. This compensated for the difference between expenses and revenues – ie fixed feed-in tariffs for producers of green electricity and revenues generated on the electricity exchange.
The EEG-surcharge, which co-financed the extension through consumer participation, will be withdrawn in its previous form on 1 July. This should relieve households and industry, but at the same time requires a change in the structure of subsidies to green energy. The loss of income is to be settled in the future with the energy and climate fund. At the beginning of the year, subsidies from the federal budget were allocated to lower taxes. Tender rules are changing.
Create recharge incentives
The head of Tüv-Nord also demanded the creation of other incentives for re-powering. In addition, approval procedures must be “massively shortened” – as in the construction of new plants. Additional wind farms are often opposed by local residents or environmentalists.
In terms of repowering, Schleswig-Holstein led the list of federal states in 2021. Brandenburg came second, Lower Saxony third. According to the National Association for Renewable Energies, only twelve turbines have been re-powered in the North-West – Germany’s most important wind energy region. Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) said his country wants to become “the number one energy country”. “This is the goal – there is a lot of work ahead of it.” First and foremost, “all procedural laws should be overhauled” to make planning for the establishments less complicated.
Two percent of Germany’s territory
The federal government wants 2% of Germany’s area to be earmarked for the construction of wind turbines. Most federal states today are far from achieving this value – according to a study for the Habecka department, overall it would still be achievable. Prerequisite: politicians must be ready to accept the associated “risk of conflict”. This concerns, for example, disputes between the development of wind energy and the protection of nature and species.
Determining very large settlement distances from wind farms and excluding forest areas, landscape protection areas or areas of special importance to the landscape would significantly reduce the potential of the area and would make it impossible to achieve the goal – or at least make it very unlikely.
These federal states have the greatest potential
According to the study, the greatest potential for wind energy expansion does not necessarily lie in the regions where it has happened so far. Although Brandenburg and Lower Saxony have very high area potential, the highest absolute values are in Bavaria, and the others are high in Baden-Württemberg, Thuringia and Hesse.
Ten scenarios were calculated – depending on how strict the distances between the wind turbines and the residential buildings are and how high the average wind speeds are. In southern countries, much of the area has fewer, but probably often still good enough wind conditions for turbines to operate. (dpa)