Economics and Climate Protection Minister Robert Habeck sees progress in the expansion of green electricity in Germany - and at the same time there is still a long way to go. The Greens politician told the German Press Agency in Berlin: "I'm not dissatisfied with how things are going with the expansion of renewables. Not satisfied yet, it's all still a delicate little plant, and we really come from the valley of the Tears. But they have dried and you can already dare to smile again."
This year has shown that progress has really been made, said Habeck. "We're far from done. But we've made big laws, made a number of large and small adjustment screws to simplify procedures, gradually leave bureaucracy behind us and become faster. We've released the brakes everywhere."
Countries should provide more space
The federal government's goal is to increase the share of electricity generated from renewable energies in electricity consumption to at least 80 percent by 2030. This year, according to the first industry calculations, it was around 47 percent. The federal government has passed extensive changes in the law for faster expansion. For example, 2 percent of the entire federal area on land should be designated for wind turbines. The federal states should provide more space in the coming years. Different targets apply to the individual countries because there are different requirements for the expansion of wind energy.
Targets would be met this year, Habeck said. "They're not as high as the years after, but it's a good starting point for next year. And that's after there has been little progress in recent years. Next year it has to be more, and then more again. But development is pointing in the right direction."
Expansion of 10 gigawatts per year to achieve climate targets
Habeck also referred to a package of measures with Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP). As a result, additional areas were created through better compatibility of wind turbines with systems for radio navigation and weather radar. In the short to medium term, this paves the way for 4 to 5 gigawatts of additional wind power. The wind energy industry expects an expansion of 2.3 to 2.4 gigawatts in 2022 as a whole. In order to achieve climate goals, Habeck believes that an increase of 10 gigawatts per year is necessary.
"Of course, ten gigawatts of new construction per year is a really high number," said the minister. "We've never done that in Germany, we've never been there - and that's permanent."
There are a number of specific regulations that make wind turbines more attractive for residents, citizens and districts, said Habeck. "There is a special subsidy for community wind farms. That was one of the mistakes of the last few years, that space was made available. And then some company came along and set things up. The citizens bore the burden, but nothing benefited from it, apart from the good or not so good feeling of being part of the energy transition and producing climate and energy."
"Strengthening regional value creation through renewable energies"
The municipalities have now been given the right to share in the profits of the wind farm operators. "The municipalities can then use this financial participation of the municipalities in the amount of 0.2 cents per climate watt hour for other things, for example to renovate the swimming pool or outdoor pool. We are strengthening the regional added value through renewable energies." Habeck also referred to a location advantage: "Companies will seek out and prefer regions that have a high density of renewable energies."
With a view to an agreement at EU level shortly before Christmas, Habeck said that an "unprecedented" boost for rapid expansion and approvals had been achieved. He also pointed out that the remuneration for renewable energies for this year and next has been "inflation-adjusted". The Federal Network Agency will increase the maximum values for the tenders in the coming year for wind and photovoltaics by 25 percent.
Anyone who wants to build wind or solar parks with state funding in Germany can submit bids in tenders. Maximum values should now be adjusted significantly.
"Push up the pace on the permits"
"This significantly improves the profitability of the projects and gives even more impetus," emphasized Habeck. "And I hope that many applications will be made and approved. "Of course, it's important that the federal states go along with them and do their part to speed up the approval process."
So far, there has been a north-south divide in the expansion of onshore wind power, as a federal-state cooperation committee found out.
"I visited Bavaria at the beginning of the year, a state that was not at the forefront of Germany in terms of wind power expansion," said Habeck. "They're still not there." But Bavaria's Economics Minister Hubert Aiwanger (Free Voters) boasts that Bavaria is becoming a booming country for wind energy. "He wouldn't have dared to say that years ago." Bavaria had relaxed a strict rule on the distance between wind turbines and residential areas.