More space, faster procedures for approval and transport: Economics Minister Habeck has presented his strategy to speed up the expansion of wind farms on land. For this he has received praise from the industry.
Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck wants to push the construction of wind turbines on land more. To this end, the Greens politician presented a new “onshore wind energy strategy” in Berlin. This should work, among other things, by providing more space for wind turbines, as well as through a more targeted recruitment of specialists and simpler and faster approval processes.
Habeck also discussed the project with representatives from the federal, state and energy sectors at the second so-called Wind Summit. Some of the measures are already being implemented, while others are on Habeck’s list of projects. Habeck described onshore wind energy as the key to energy supply.
“Need a quadrupling of current additions”
He expects significant progress in the expansion of onshore wind energy this year. “We are seeing initial successes,” said the Green politician after consultations with countries and industry representatives. “We think it’s possible to double the expansion to four gigawatts this year.” For comparison: in 2022 it was 2.1 gigawatts, which corresponded to an increase of 30 percent over the previous year.
Four gigawatts is roughly the capacity of four large nuclear power plants. Habeck said that with onshore wind, almost 900 megawatts had already been added in the first four months of 2023. In the future, new wind turbines with a total of around ten gigawatts are to be built every year in order to achieve the climate targets.
“Since we need more than a quadrupling of the current expansion, we also want to remove the remaining hurdles and obstacles,” explained the Economics Minister. For example, it was agreed with the Federal Ministry of Transport that permits for the complex transport of wind turbines should be granted more easily and quickly.
Demand for more staff
The chairman of the Energy Ministers’ Conference of the federal states, Saxony-Anhalt’s department head Armin Willingmann (SPD), praised the development of the strategy. At the same time, he warned that a lack of staff in the authorities was “an important limiting factor”. In addition, rules would have to be created to enable the population to participate economically in wind power projects: “The energy ministers would like to see a nationwide regulation at this point.” In addition, the domestic wind power industry must be strengthened.
Kerstin Andreae from the main management of the electricity lobby association BDEW said that ten wind turbines are currently being built per week. But it should be 30. Public acceptance is gradually increasing. In 2020, 24 percent of the projects were still being complained about, in 2021 only 17 percent. In order to accelerate the expansion, more space is to be made available, skilled workers recruited in a more targeted manner and wind turbines transported more quickly. The approval procedures are also to be simplified and accelerated, because these are the major issues for wind turbine manufacturers.
Electricity demand will continue to rise
The President of the German Wind Energy Association, Bärbel Heidebroek, was pleased with the growing pace of expansion of wind power on land. She complained: “But this is largely supported by three federal states, Lower Saxony, Schleswig Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia, while the south has so far actually been a total failure.”
The expansion of renewable energies from wind and sun plays a key role in the federal government’s strategy to achieve climate goals and become less dependent on fossil energies such as coal and gas. According to the plans of the federal government, 80 percent of the electricity should come from renewable energies in 2030, currently it is about half. The demand for electricity is likely to increase enormously, due to millions of electric cars and heat pumps.
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