German economy minister defends distance requirements for wind power plants

German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier on Wednesday defended a governmental plan which envisages a mandatory minimum distance between wind power plants and villages of 1,000 meters in Germany.

Altmaier said the main problem is that there would not be enough approved locations for wind power plants, adding that approval procedures would often take years.

In a letter dated Tuesday, numerous German industrial and wind power associations urged the minister to cancel the planned distance requirements for wind power plants.

“It is inexplicable to us that a regulation on nationwide minimum distances should be maintained, although it is clear that the target of 65 percent renewable energies in 2030 cannot be met with this,” the letter signed by large German industrial associations such as the Federation of German Industries or the German Association of Energy and Water Industries read.

Wind power plays an important role in Germany’s plans to completely phase out coal by 2038 while simultaneously shutting down all nuclear power plants by 2022.

According to German research institute Fraunhofer, in the first half of 2019, more than 25 percent of Germany’s energy was generated by wind power.