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WindEurope says slump in German wind installs due to permitting issues

Wind turbine generators. Photo by: VERBUND AG (www.verbund.com).

May 10 (Renewables Now) - Onshore wind installations in Germany this year will plunge to 1 GW-2 GW from an average of 4.3 GW for annual capacity additions over the last five years, WindEurope warned today, saying that the slow and complex permitting process was the main reason for the drop.

Installations in the first three months of 2019 stood at just 134 MW, which is the lowest quarterly level recorded in Germany since 2000.

“The main problem is permitting - it’s got much slower, more complex and there aren’t enough civil servants to process the applications. It seriously undermines Germany’s ability to meet its 2030 renewables target and contribute to the EU target,” said Giles Dickson, chief executive of WindEurope.

The impact of this will be felt by the industry too, as in the first quarter of 2019 there have been zero turbine orders in Germany, Dickson added.

Deployment is also down because of the failed auction systems in 2017 when community projects were allowed to compete without a permit. The winning projects got a lot of time to finish installation and many of the parks are yet to be built. This mistake has been fixed in the auctions that followed, but still, results have been affected by the issues with permitting. Recent wind auctions have been undersubscribed and so the contracting prices for wind have increased.

WindEurope said that in the first quarter just 400 MW of wind projects secured permits in Germany, which is significantly below historical levels. The lack of staff to process the applications is especially pronounced at Bundesland level, the trade body added. The permitting process now takes more than two years, while before 10 months were enough.

Dickson said the “Public Acceptance Working Group” now has to agree to identify zones suitable for new wind and take action to ensure that distance and height restrictions in Germany are not out of sync with the rest of Europe.

“There’s plenty of space available for new wind farms in Germany. And they can build them in industrial sites like the Dutch do or alongside motorways like in France and Belgium. Repowering the early wind farms that are coming to the end of their life will also help,” WindEurope’s CEO added.

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Browse all articles from Tsvetomira Tsanova

Tsvet has been following the development of the global renewable energy industry for almost nine years. She's got a soft spot for emerging markets.

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