New Energy Future Act in Hesse Promotes Wind Power and Energy-Efficiency

On Tuesday, the parliament of the State of Hesse adopted the so-called Hessisches Energiezukunftsgesetz (Energy Future Act of the State of Hesse – HEG) with the votes of the ruling Conservative/Liberal (CDU and FDP) coalition.  It aims at generating electricity and heat if possible by 2050 solely from renewable energy sources, increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and promoting onshore wind power.

According to Section 1 para. 1 HEG (ref. no.  18/6400 as amended by the Parliament Committee for the Environment, Energy, Agriculture and Consumer Protection) the final energy consumption of electricity and heat shall –  if possible – be covered by renewable energy sources by 2050 and the annual energy-efficient renovation rate of buildings increased by at least 2.5 to 3%.

In order to achieve the goals set out in Section 1 para. 1 HEG, the state of Hesse will provide financial support as laid down in part two of HEG and carry out measures promoting the targets in its own sphere of responsibility pursuant to part three of HEG (cf. Section 1 para. 2 HEG). Apart from financial support for municipalities that invest in the energy transformation and energy-efficiency (cf. Section 3 HEG), Hesse wants to promote investment activities increasing energy efficiency, the efficient generation and use of energy and use of renewable energy sources (cf. Section 5 HEG). Besides the state wants to support innovative energy technologies (cf. Section 6 HEG).

The expansion of onshore wind power shall further be encouraged by mandating (cf. Section 1 para. 3 HEG) that the state development plan shall be amended to include the obligation for regional plans to designate wind priority zones with exclusivity (Windvorrangflächen mit Ausschlusswirkung) of about 2% of the area of the State of Hesse in “substantially suitable areas”.

The opposition parties that voted against HEG (SPD, The Left) or abstained (Alliance ’90/The Greens) criticised the law as not sufficient.

The law is one of many that the sixteen federal states that form the Federal Republic of Germany are currently in the process of drafting and adopting in the wake of the Federal Parliament’s decision on an energy policy shift phasing-out nuclear power and replacing it by renewable energy sources. In late October, Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier had called on the Federal States to better coordinate their expansion plans for renewables, in particular onshore wind power, with the German State. At a meeting with Chancellor Merkel in November the state premiers had vowed to cooperate to implement the energy transformation. It will be interesting to see how this will work out.

Source: State of Hesse; Frankfurter Neue Presse

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