Germany’s wind energy industry is suddenly facing fierce headwinds, and wind energy opponents are cheering wildly!
Yesterday Germany’s most populated state, North Rhine Westphalia, voted in a new government. The old government consisting of a coalition between the SPD Socialists and the Green Party were booted out in recent state elections, and since yesterday have been replaced by a new coalition of the CDU “conservatives” and the more free-market-friendly FDP Free Democrats.
Last evening the German ZDF news reported here that FDP party chief Christian Lindner has announced much tougher regulations for wind parks in the state. This sends a strong signal to the wind industry nationally, and now they are worried.
At the 11:00 mark news anchorman Claus Kleber tells viewers that there is no other issue where the differences between the old and new government in North Rhine Westphalia could be greater than it is energy policy. According to Kleber:
The result is the de facto end of the further installation of wind park forests.”
The junior coalition partner Free Democrats have managed to convince the larger ruling CDU to accept far more stringent rules for permitting wind parks, namely a minimum setback distance of 1500 meters from any residential home.
The new rules mean the end for many planned projects. It’s a “battle-cry on wind projects”, Kleber notes. Lindner has had it with the “politics of subsidies”.
At the 12:20 mark Lindner is seen stating that the out-of control installation of wind energy has “not been ecological” and instead it is “ideological” and “clearly has served the business interests of a single sector“.
No chance to reach climate targets
Naturally the wind industry reacted to Lindner’s plans with concern. Jan Dobertin of the Renewable Energy Association [14:34] said the new rules mean there would be no chance for the state to reach its climate target. Ironically, while Germans continue to attack Trump for backing out of the Paris Accord, they too are in fact backing out – and doing so with real action.
Currently there are over 27,000 turbines installed throughout Germany, 3345 in North Rhine Westphalia, the ZDF segment shows. During the state election campaign Lindner made landscape blight by turbines a major issue, and this helped propel his Free Democrat Party to a record high result on election day.
Fears wind energy rejection will go national
The ZDF and the wind industry now fear Lindner’s campaign will spread across Germany as the September national election approaches. Wind energy lobbyist Dobertin ranted at the ZDF [13:29]:
We are simply afraid that the installation of wind energy, which over the past years across the country, and also here in North Rhine Westphalia, which has developed very well, will be choked off — and naturally jobs, nationwide 120,000 workers in the sector, which now are massively at risk, and that we are backing off from the transition to renewable energies and climate protection.”
The ZDF concludes the segment by stating that planned projects in the state now face powerful head winds. Chilly winds are indeed now blowing for the German wind industry. Planners have now been warned.