Government plans to relax distance rules for wind turbines in major expansion

Government plans to relax distance rules for wind turbines in major expansion

In an attempt to massively expand the production of wind-powered energy in Germany, the federal government is reportedly planning to tear down a number of hurdles with a new legislative package. Measures include doubling the proportion of federal territory set aside for wind turbines, and reducing distance rules for residential areas. 

Turbines could be built closer to houses if targets are missed

The German federal government is reportedly putting together a new package of laws that will facilitate the expansion of wind energy by weakening some regulations currently in place. According to Reuters, the government wants to double the proportion of land set aside for wind turbines from 1 to 2 percent by changing planning and building laws, as well as nature conservation laws. 

Each federal state will be given its own target to stick to: for instance, Bavaria must increase the land available for wind energy to 1,1 percent by the end of 2026, and to 1,8 percent by 2032. Similar goals have been put in place in Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia. States with more wind potential, such as Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, have higher targets of 1,4 and 2,1 percent. 

The new law also weakens distance requirements that have been implemented in some federal states to prevent wind turbines from being built too close to houses and apartments. If a federal state is in danger of falling short of its target due to space restraints, these distance requirements can be dropped, according to the draft. 

Germany seeks to diversify energy mix with more wind

Reuters reports that the new package of measures will be put to the Federal Cabinet in June before being submitted to the Bundestag. It has been heavily accelerated both out of climate concerns and also after the Russian invasion of Ukraine highlighted the need to diversify German energy sources. 

“It is part of a comprehensive regulatory package with the aim of a sustainable and greenhouse gas-neutral energy supply, which is intended to dramatically accelerate the expansion of renewable energies and remove all hurdles and obstacles,” the Wind-on-Land Act states. 

Currently, around 0,8 percent of German land has been designated for use producing wind energy, but only around 0,5 percent is actually being used. The government wants to double the output of wind turbines to 115 gigawatts by 2030, and expects this target to even increase to 165 gigawatts in the future. The traffic light coalition agreement committed the government to sourcing 80 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and almost 100 percent by 2035. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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