Altmaier’s planned ‘turbine-free zones’ could halve Germany’s wind energy potential

(EurActiv, 22 Nov 2019) Proposals to introduce a minimum distance of 1,000 metres between wind turbines and buildings have attracted fierce criticism from the German environment ministry, which said the draft new rules would derail the country’s plan to boost renewable energy by 2030. EURACTIV Germany reports.

The regulations, planned by the ministry of economic affairs headed by Peter Altmaier (CDU), would reduce the nationwide potential for wind energy by 20% to 50%, according to the German Environment Agency.

“Germany could clearly miss the target of producing 65% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030” if the 1,000 metre rule was applied, the agency warned on Wednesday (20 November).

And the figure could even reach 70% to 90% in some regions. Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein would be particularly affected.

Currently, 0.9% of Germany’s total land area is approved for the placement of wind turbines, even if only half of the land is being used. In theory, 81 gigawatts of wind energy could be installed using that land, which is more than enough to reach the 65% renewable energy target by 2030.

But if the minimum distance between wind turbines and homes is determined at 1,000 metres, a much smaller increase of 43 to 63 gigawatts would be possible.

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EurActiv, 22 Nov 2019: Altmaier’s planned ‘turbine-free zones’ could halve Germany’s wind energy potential