Germany erupts at EU as red tape prevents green energy expansion: ‘Complex and difficult’ | Science | News

The Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection plans to rejuvenate the German wind industry. Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck announced earlier this week that he would set aside 2% of German land for onshore wind energy via an “onshore wind law”. This is a long-standing request from the wind industry. Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope. said: “The Energiewende is booming again. Germany wants a huge expansion of onshore wind power.

And Hermann Albers, president of the German wind energy association WindEnergie, welcomed the decision.

He said that “a binding area target must be defined and implemented in all federal states”.

Now Berlin is seeking a record expansion in wind power tariffs, with plans to top the 2017 peak by nearly 5 gigawatts (GW) of additional capacity.

Mr Dickson said: ‘The government fully understands that this requires faster approval of new wind farms.’

But the EU stands in the way of Germany.

As stated in the EU Birds and Habitats Directive, EU states must prohibit a number of problems created by wind energy.

This includes “all forms of deliberate capture or killing (of endangered birds)”.

It also includes “deliberate disturbances, for example during breeding, rearing, hibernation and migration”, as well as “damaging or destroying breeding sites or resting places “.

And it has been argued that the rather broad definition of what constitutes the “killing” of birds has already hindered the expansion of onshore wind power in Germany.

The legal analysis commissioned by Graichen’s former think tank, Agora Energiewende, states: “According to the current state of knowledge, wind energy projects pose an abstract risk of mortality, especially for large birds and birds of prey”.

He specifies that in the interest of the development of wind power, “it will be necessary to make greater use of the possibilities of exemption provided for by the European law on the protection of species”.

But conservationists can strongly oppose any attempt to change the European directive on the protection of birds currently in force.

Raphael Weyland, head of nature protection at NABU, a German conservation NGO, said: “Overall, NABU opposes the opening of the Habitats and Birds Directives.”

Although NABU supports a clean energy transition, Mr Weyland said “this must not come at the expense of nature conservation: nature’s crisis is just as existential as the climate crisis”.

The European Commission concluded that EU bird protection directives were “fit for purpose” just a few years ago.

Weyland explained that the guidelines contain several exemptions that Germany could use more broadly to support wind power expansion.

This is also identified in the analysis of Agora Energiewende.

He specifies that in the interest of the development of wind power, “it will be necessary to make greater use of the possibilities of exemption provided for by the European law on the protection of species”.

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