Berlin (dpa) - The balance was sobering and has now startled the federal government. In the first half of the year, the expansion of wind power on land almost came to a standstill. In many countries, no new equipment was added. Now is to be countered.

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) has now discussed with the industry, countries and citizens' initiatives. The message: the problems should be tackled. Altmaier wants a "national consensus" just as in the nuclear and coal industry exit. An overview of the situation.

Why is the expansion of wind energy on land?

In the first half of the year 86 wind turbines (wind turbines) were built ashore. This corresponds to a gross increase of 287 megawatts, the lowest ever since the introduction of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) in 2000. Compared to the first six months of the previous year, new construction fell by 82 percent. In addition, 51 older and smaller wind turbines were shut down, resulting in a net increase of 231 megawatts. If the second half of the year is going very well, there can be a maximum of 1,500 megawatts for the year as a whole. This is much less than the targeted 4,500 megawatts, which were achieved from 2014 to 2017.

One megawatt equals one million watts. To supply a city like Hamburg, a generation of about 1600 to 1700 megawatts is needed. In the case of wind energy, however, it should be borne in mind that the technical capacity of the plants can only be partially exploited because the wind blows irregularly.

Main reasons for the break-in are, according to a consistent analysis of associations and experts, missing areas and complaints against other wind turbines. According to the German Wind Energy Association, around 11,000 megawatts are in approval procedures, which can now take three to five years on land and cost several 100,000 euros. Another 4,000 megawatts are blocked by mandatory clearances to the radio-control beacons and 800 megawatts of already granted permits are complained.

Why are there protests?

Plaintiffs against wind turbines are often conservationists who are committed to species protection and endangered bird and bat species, or affected residents. Every year thousands of birds fall victim to wind turbines, including many common species such as doves or seagulls, but also rarer ones such as storks, birds of prey or owls. The rare red kite has become a symbol bird, whose protection is often argued by plaintiffs against the planned construction of a wind farm as an argument. Under the Nature Conservation Act, it is forbidden to kill or disturb rare or protected animals. The wind energy industry argues that climate protection also benefits animal and plant species and that, in case of doubt, wind power plants should take precedence. Residents also complain because of too short distances to the residential development, noise or shadow.

What is the situation at sea?

The wind power at sea is on expansion in the plan. In the first half of the year, 42 wind power plants with a capacity of 252 megawatts went to the grid in the North Sea, none in the Baltic Sea. In total, more than 1300 plants with a capacity of 6.7 gigawatts are in operation. This means that the expansion target of 6.5 gigawatts for 2020 has been reached. The upper limit of 7.7 gigawatts set for 2020 is already in sight. This is followed by an expansion lull so far. So far, a lid of 15 gigawatts applies until the year 2030. The North German federal states as well as industry and trade unions have been calling for an increase of this cap to 20 gigawatts for years, as well as a special contribution of two gigawatts immediately to meet the climate targets for 2030. The network connections for this would be available. An additional contribution from offshore wind energy is also provided for in the coalition agreement, but has not yet been implemented.

What did the "wind peak" bring?

There were no concrete results, for example an agreement on short-term measures. However, that was not to be expected two weeks before the deliberations of the Climate Cabinet - because then the federal government wants to decide on a complete package so that climate targets can be achieved. In the coalition, however, there are still differing views on key issues.

Altmaier announced plans to develop a catalog of measures in the coming weeks and months with countries and industry. Central questions are how more areas can be designated for wind turbines and approval procedures can be accelerated. Lower Saxony's environment minister, Olaf Lies (SPD), said at the next Conference of Energy Ministers of the federal and state governments in December, concrete points would have to be presented.

If the expansion is not resumed in the medium and long term, climate goals are in danger. Background: In the course of the energy transition coal, gas and nuclear power should be replaced by renewable energy sources. By 2022, the last nuclear power plant will be shut down, by 2038, the coal exit is planned. The share of green electricity is expected to rise to 65 percent by 2030 - in the first half of 2019, the contribution to covering electricity consumption was 44 percent, according to figures from the energy association BDEW.

The forthcoming talks will also focus on increasing the acceptance of wind turbines - for example, by increasing the participation of citizens and municipalities in wind farms. There are numerous citizens' initiatives at planned wind turbine sites. These express some fundamental criticism. Waltraud Plarre, for example, has to put wind power to the test, according to the Federal Initiative "Vernunftkraft". At least the requirements should be tightened, how far wind turbines of residential buildings may be built - and: the forest must also be declared a "taboo" for wind power.

10-point plan associations

Press release VDMA

Arguments Citizens' initiative Reasoning power

Wind energy statistics 1st half of 2019

Message IG metal coast

Industry survey commissioned by the IG Metall Coast