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Crisis summit at the Minister of Economic Affairs: wind power lobby wants to weaken species protection


Without wind power, the energy transition would hardly be possible, but the expansion of the rotors falters. Shortly before a crisis meeting in the Ministry of Economic Affairs a proposal of the wind power lobby outraged the conservationists.

If the most important technology of the energy turnaround is in the crisis, then you have to start big as a federal government. No wonder that the guest list for the so-called Windkraftgipfel of Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) is so long.

Up to 70 participants are expected to SPIEGEL information on Thursday from 13 clock to the meeting to be clarified, which one can oppose the extensive stoppage in rotors, the wave of corporate failures and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the wind sector.

State Secretaries of the Environment, Transport and Interior Ministries, representatives of the 13 German territorial states, more than half a dozen state ministers, presidents of green power, municipal and nature conservation associations, emissaries of up to six citizens' initiatives and other participants want to exchange their suggestions and reservations.

A quite sporty undertaking, because Altmaier's crisis summit should last only two, two and a half hours at the most. "Certainly not all participants will have their say," says a invited guest.

To still be heard, many stakeholders have just now begun to publicly debate - and rekindled an old dispute that smolders for years around the German energy transition.

On Wednesday, first the Federal Wind Energy Association (BWE) rushed forward. Together with the Federal Association of the Energy Industry, the WWF, Greenpeace and four other industry and environmental associations, he published a ten-point plan to accelerate the energy transition.

In the paper, inter alia, a softening of species protection is required. In concrete terms, Paragraph 45, Section 7 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act is to be amended in such a way that far-reaching exceptions will apply in the future for the construction of rotors.

"We want to avoid that wind power opponents continue to misuse the occurrence of isolated animals, such as a red kite, to delay the construction of entire wind farms for months, sometimes even years," says BWE CEO Wolfram Axthelm. Instead of looking at individual animals, one should make sure in the future that the entire population of an affected species in the region is still large enough even after the construction of new wind farms.

The nature conservation federation Germany (Nabu) protests against it vehemently. The expansion of wind energy pose a real threat to the stock of certain species of birds and bats, it says in a statement that the association wants to publish on Thursday and the SPIEGEL is available in advance.

"The wind industry should take species protection seriously, rather than trying to undermine it," says Nabu President Olaf Tschimpke. "There are ways in which the climate and species crisis can be solved together."


The red kite is often particularly threatened by the construction of new wind farms

The Nabu bothers especially because of the fact that wind power by default in species conservation wants to be preferred. From his point of view, such exemptions must be linked to special species protection programs, the success of which must be monitored by the responsible planning authorities, according to the report. This could be financed at least partly from the revenues of wind energy.

In principle, however, the Nabu is of the opinion that the flood of laws against the construction of new wind turbines should be contained. According to a study by the Agency for Wind Power currently more than a thousand rotors can not be built because residents, citizens' groups and conservationists complain against them. In 72 percent of the cases, the plaintiffs relied on species protection.

While there are still differences in the new rules governing nature conservation, there is broad agreement on other points as to how the wind crisis could at least partially be resolved.

  • The federal government, states and municipalities should therefore finally develop a joint strategy for the designation of areas for wind energy use. So far, the area limits are not only unevenly regulated, but also extremely strict in some federal states. In Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, wind turbines may only be built at a great distance from settlements.
  • In addition, there are strict requirements for the protection of so-called VHF radio beacons, which require aircraft for navigation. Throughout Germany, no wind turbines may be built within a radius of 15 kilometers around corresponding ground stations. In many other countries, the safety distance is only ten kilometers - which now also demands the BWE.

It is also in the interest of the Federal Government that the expansion of the rotors on land gets going again. After all, wind energy is by far the most important source among renewable energies, which last covered almost 40 percent of the electricity demand in Germany. By 2030, the proportion is expected to grow to 65 percent. Without success at the Wind Summit, it may be difficult to achieve this goal.

Source: spiegel

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