Hannover (dpa) - The expansion of wind power on the North and Baltic Sea threatens the risks to the environment in the view of the Naturschutzbund (Nabu) in the background.

"I have the feeling, the wind industry and parts of the policy would like to have a free ticket," said the Nabu marine protection expert Kim Detloff the German Press Agency. In view of new expansion targets, there is a great danger that now speed will go before quality and wind farms will be built in the wrong place. "The energy turnaround is not a stimulus program for sluggish shipyards and coastal countries."

The North German federal states and the federal government had announced in early October that the installed capacity of offshore wind energy should increase from currently around 7 gigawatts to 20 gigawatts by 2030. The Nabu has joined forces with other environmental organizations to reach this goal, but only in the context of ecological sustainability.

Especially Lower Saxony's Minister of the Environment and Energy Olaf Lies increased the pace: According to his statements, 2023 could start the tenders for the additional targeted performance and 2027 start the construction of the facilities. Perspectively even a potential of 50 gigawatts in the German North Sea is conceivable, said the SPD politician. After all, renewable energies are also an economic engine.

In view of such announcements, Detloff is lacking the sense of proportion: "Sometimes I wish that, among other things, Mr. Lies in Lower Saxony step on someone's feet and say: They are environment ministers and no longer economics ministers." How many wind turbines can tolerate the North and Baltic Seas do not tell each other today. This is currently under investigation, said Detloff. In scenarios of 50 gigawatts or more, however, you have "industrial parks, but no healthy nature on your doorstep".

On the part of politicians, offshore development is seen as an important component of climate protection. "We do that so that we can implement the energy transition and achieve climate protection goals," said Lies. The German government wants to increase its share of green electricity in Germany from just under 40 percent by the year 2030 to 65 percent. In addition, offshore wind power creates added value and jobs on the coasts.

But Detloff warned against exploiting climate protection and species protection against each other. Protected areas for individual species have already become unusable due to wind power at sea. In the German Bight, for example, two-thirds of a bird sanctuary is affected.

"It's probably naive to think that nature does not have to pay a price for climate protection," the Nabu expert admitted. "But we have to minimize the impact."

North and Baltic Sea are already doing bad today. Therefore, one must question how much burden the sea tolerates altogether. "If the energy transition is most important to us then, in return, other uses, fisheries, shipping and mining must be put aside and more regulated so as not to overburden nature," Detloff said.

Action program of the environmental associations (pdf)

Nabu on environmental risks of offshore wind power