German renewable energy projects to enjoy easier roll out

The German government has agreed to make it easier to undertake renewable energy projects that had begun to slow the country’s landmark energy transition. The deal between the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative alliance and its coalition partner, the Social Democrats, settles disputes such as minimum distances between wind turbines and nearby settlements, and support payments for solar power installations.

The agreement followed many months of political squabble that had triggered increasingly desperate calls by the affected industries and energy experts. Energy associations welcomed the change, however environmental activists called it a “bad compromise”. The compromise by Angela Merkel, the chancellor and the Social Democrats (SP) now, at large, leaves it to the country’s 16 states to decide whether they want to introduce such minimum distance rules of up to 1,000 metres from residential areas or allow construction at shorter distances. The support cap for solar power, on the other hand, was promptly removed altogether.

Also Read: UK to build world’s largest hydrogen electrolysis plant in Germany.

“Today is a good day for the energy transition, for action on the climate and in terms of an important economic contribution to overcome the coronavirus pandemic,” said Peter Altmaier, the economy minister, at a press conference. The German environment minister, Svenja Schulze, stated in a recent tweet that the agreement is a milestone that paves the way for the country’s coal exit. Resolving the dispute over wind power distance rules and the solar cap is key to enabling Germany to expand renewable energies to reach the government’s target of 65 per cent in power consumption by 2030, laid out in the 2019 climate package. Expansion ofGerman renewable energy projects such as construction of onshore wind power, Germany’s energy transition’s most important power generation technology, fell to the lowest level in 20 years in 2019, mainly due to regulatory obstacles and local opposition. To ensure further acceptance by residents, the government’s climate cabinet last year hence decided to introduce minimum distance rules from the nearest settlement and provisions that allow municipalities to receive part of the payback from wind parks.

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