The German government is preparing to develop wind energy – Expat Guide to Germany

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The German government on Wednesday approved a bill to cover 2% of the country’s area with wind turbines by 2032, setting fixed regional targets and easing some administrative burdens.

The push to accelerate the expansion of wind power comes as Germany struggles to wean itself off Russian fossil fuels after the war in Ukraine.

“Independence from fossil fuels and Russian fossil fuels must move forward at full speed,” Energy Minister Robert Habeck told reporters.

The bill passed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s cabinet still needs to be approved by parliament.

The goal is for Germany’s 16 states to collectively dedicate 2% of the country’s land area to wind power generation by the end of 2032, up from 0.5% currently.

Installing wind turbines regularly encounters “not in my backyard” resistance in Germany and objections from residents have often blocked such projects in the past, as have concerns about endangering local wildlife.

Habeck said the bill would take away some of the leeway regional governments currently have and force them to meet fixed targets that vary based on the size of the state and specific criteria such as working conditions. wind and areas set aside as nature protection areas.

Under the bill, most states would have to set aside 1.8-2.2% of their land for wind turbines, while the city-states of Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen would only have to meet a target of 0.5%.

If regions fail to meet the goal, the federal government could override local rules on maintaining a minimum distance between homes and wind turbines.

– ‘Concerns’ –

Regional states unable to meet their target would be allowed to negotiate with other states that they build more wind turbines to make up the difference, in exchange for financial compensation.

The federal government has also pledged to simplify species protection rules in an effort to remove another common obstacle in the way of more wind turbines.

Habeck said he understands the proposed measures would spark opposition or even fear in some areas, but “there is a difference between taking concerns seriously and allowing those concerns to become a political blockade.”

Scholz’s Social Democrat-led government, which also includes Habeck’s Green Party and the liberal FDP, aims for Europe’s biggest economy to get 80% of its electricity from renewables by 2030.

After years of increasing the share of renewables in its energy mix, the proportion of renewables fell last year for the first time since 1997, to 42% from 45.3% in 2020.

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