Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Thuringia soon? Several federal states have introduced minimum distance rules for wind turbines. Experts consider the regulations to be pointless. Now the federal government wants to speak a word of power.

The federal government wants to tear down hurdles for the expansion of wind energy and overturn the distance regulations of the federal states. With the legislative package, which was presented to the Reuters news agency on Wednesday morning, around two percent of Germany’s area is to be reserved for wind turbines.

In order to enforce this, not only planning and building law, but also the nature conservation law should be changed. According to the project, the distance rules for wind turbines to residential buildings can initially remain in force. However, if a federal state misses its space requirements, these regulations become invalid.

The federal government justifies its action of an urgently needed acceleration of the expansion of renewable energies with climate protection, but also with security policy reasons due to the war in Ukraine. “It is part of a comprehensive regulatory package with the aim of a sustainable and greenhouse gas-neutral energy supply, which should drastically accelerate the expansion of renewable energies and remove all hurdles and obstacles for the accelerated expansion,” says the justification in “Wind on Land”. -Law.

The main obstacle to expansion is the lack of available space. Therefore, two percent of the country would have to be designated for wind turbines. “This will require more than a doubling of the designated area in the coming years.” Currently, only around 0.8 percent of the federal area is designated for onshore wind energy. Only 0.5 percent would actually be used. The government’s goal is to double the output of onshore wind turbines to 115 gigawatts by 2030. Then a total of 80 percent of electricity from renewable energies should be capped.

In order to implement the area targets, the Wind Area Requirements Act (WindBG) contains clear specifications for each state: Bavaria, for example, must report 1.1 percent by the end of 2026 and then 1.8 percent by 2032. The same applies to Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia. Countries with more wind, such as Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, have targets of 1.4 and 2.1 percent.

If the goals are in danger of being missed, the distance rules set up in the federal states also fall: “Minimum distance regulations are no longer applicable if the area contribution values ​​of the state according to the WindBG are not achieved,” it says. According to government circles, the project is to be launched on Wednesday, approved by the cabinet in June and tabled in the Bundestag.

According to studies, distance regulations slow down the expansion of wind power considerably without significantly increasing acceptance by the population. A study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) concluded in 2020 that the introduction of minimum distances in Bavaria led to a sharp decline in expansion. It makes more sense for the municipalities and the residents of the respective communities to participate financially in the systems. Corresponding models already exist in several federal states. A study by the Federal Environment Agency showed in 2019 that the German climate targets could no longer be achieved with a general minimum distance.

In Germany, there are distance regulations in Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia and, for a few weeks now, in Saxony and Brandenburg. In Thuringia, the opposition CDU also wants to enforce a distance regulation of 1000 meters, against the will of the red-red-green minority government. Together with the other opposition parties FDP and AfD, the motion would even have a majority. In Thuringia, a big argument has therefore broken out over the question of whether the CDU really wants to enforce a distance regulation with the help of the AfD. The State Office for the Protection of the Constitution classifies the Thuringian AfD as “proven right-wing extremist”.