German government seeks to resolve dispute with states over wind power

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The German government on Wednesday unveiled a bill aimed at resolving a long-running dispute between federal authorities and the country’s 16 states over where to build onshore wind power plants.

Some German states have bristled with proposals that would require them to set aside at least 1.4% of their area for wind farms by 2026 and 2% by 2032, arguing that some people in rural areas do not want turbines near their homes.

The compromise bill accepted by the German cabinet would give states some flexibility to build fewer wind power plants if they can persuade other states to agree to build more, including paying for them.

The bill also stipulates that the city-states of Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg should reserve only 0.5% of their area for wind energy. The legislation further stipulates that profits from the parks will be shared with the regions where they are built and that environmental protection rules that hinder the construction of turbines will be relaxed.

Climate and Energy Minister Robert Habeck said the proposals “will lead to the resumption of wind power expansion in Germany”.

As part of Germany’s energy transition plan, the country’s three remaining nuclear power plants are to close this year and coal-fired power plants are to be phased out by 2030.

Europe’s largest economy aims to generate electricity solely from renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass and hydropower by 2035.

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