German online weekly FOCUS here reports how cuts by wind energy giant Enercon will lead to 3000 layoffs. According to Enercon chief executive Hans-Dieter Kettwig, “politicians have pulled the plug on wind energy.”
German wind energy industry in turmoil. Photo: By Pierre Gosselin
Once lavished with huge incentives, the German wind industry is being hit hard after the government recently ended the huge subsidies that were once aimed at expanding the installation of wind energy capacity. Power grid operators had been struggling to keep the grid stable due to erratic feed-in and the subsidized feed-in of wind energy caused German electricity prices to become among the most expensive worldwide.
Fierce opposition from hundreds of protest groups
Moreover, hundreds of citizen protest groups have sprouted and since become a formidable force pushing for the stop of proposed wind projects. Not only have wind parks scarred the German landscape and destroyed biotopes nationwide, they have also been shown to be a real health hazard to humans living in their proximity through the low frequency infrasound they emit. Enough is enough, citizens say.
3000 job cuts in the works
FOCUS reports: “The crisis in the German wind energy industry is worsening. According to the ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’, hard cuts at the largest German manufacturer Enercon will cost 3000 jobs.”
Next year Enercon will also cut contracts with suppliers, sending a wave of job losses across the industry. “If supply contracts are terminated as planned, many of these companies are threatened with extinction,” FOCUS reports.
FOCUS notes that the layoffs will hit regions that are already economically weak. “At the Aurich and Magdeburg locations, 1500 jobs will be cut, according to the company. At the company headquarters in Aurich, 250 to 300 jobs are affected.”
Stricter regulations for wind parks, greater setback distances
Not only have the subsidies for German wind parks been cut back, but also setback rules will become more strict in order to protect homes and residents from landscape blight and infrasound. In the future, wind parks will need to keep a greater distance away from residential areas. The current CDU/CSU/SPD government wants to keep at least one kilometer between wind power installations and residential areas in the future. This will make many proposed projects impossible.
German Greens demand the industrialization of scenic landscape
The stricter setback rules have been sharply criticized by the wind industry, and particularly by German Green party leader, Annalena Baerbock: “The planned distance rules for wind turbines are devastating,” she told network Germany RND.
“Contrary to all public announcements, the federal government is thus making further expansion of wind power impossible. This is tantamount to a boycott of the Paris Climate Treaty and its own climate targets.” Baerbock also told RND: “The federal government claims to want to get out of coal but at the same time is stopping the expansion of wind power.”