#1 Onshore Wind Power State Lower Saxony Wants to Increase Onshore Capacity to 20 GW by 2050

Lower Saxony, already the number one German state for onshore wind power, wants to increase onshore wind capacity from currently 7.8 GW to 20 GW by 2050. The state is working on a wind power decree to provide further guidance.

4,000 modern turbines with an average capacity of 5 MWwere needed to reach the 20 GW goal, the Environment and Energy Ministry of Lower Saxony said, adding that roughly 1.4% its territorywere required, up fromcurrently 1%. “We are aware that wind power expansionwill not be popular everywhere, but wind power is a core element of the energy transition in the electricity sector as it is a cost-efficient, well-established and climate friendly technology”,Almut Kottwitz, state secretary in the ministry said. She pointed out that the ministry was working on a wind power decree together with other ministries, involving stakeholders toidentify potential conflicts early on and find solutions. At the end of 2013, German had 34.66 GW of installed wind capacity (onshore and offshore)

A wind power decree could not solve all potential problems, in particular regarding the designation of land for wind power use as it was not binding for the (municipal) authorities, Ms. Kottwitz said. Only the state development programme could set a binding legal framework, she explained, adding that the government of Lower Saxony had asked the Ministry of Agriculture to amend the programme, yet this would take time. Until then the wind power decree could give guidance. For more information on aspects typically regulated by a wind power decree, please see here.

According to Osnabrücker Zeitung (OZ) Lower Saxony wants to make use of a new opening clause introduced in the Federal Building Code that gives the federal states the right to stipulate minimum distances for wind power plants to residential housing. The shortest distance in the new wind power decree shall be two to three times the height of the wind turbine, OZ says, adding that this would reduce the minimum distance from an average of 1,000 metres to roughly 300 metres. The paper also points out that Bavaria wants to act differently setting a minimum distance of ten times the height of turbines.

Please note that the recently amended Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) has introduced a growth corridor for onshore wind power. According to Section 3 no. 1 EEG 2014 onshore wind power shall grow by up to 2,500 MW annually. If the growth corridor of 2,400 to 2,600 MW per year laid down in Section 29 para. 1 EEG is exceeded, the regular degression for financial support pursuant to Section 29 para. 2 EEG will increase according to Section 29 para. 3 EEG, leading to lower support.

Source: State of Lower Saxony; Osnabrücker Zeitung

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