The state government of Lower Saxony wants to increase the pace again with the expansion of wind energy.

"Anyone who is serious about climate protection needs wind energy," said the state's environment minister, Olaf Lies (SPD), after the cabinet in Hanover had passed a new wind energy decree.

In the northern German state, the expansion of wind power has been slow for a few years due to many complaints - as almost everywhere in Germany.

Carsten Germis

Business correspondent in Hamburg.

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"We must finally build on the expansion figures of 2018 and beyond," demanded the minister.

Wind turbines belonged to Lower Saxony.

They are "established and visible everywhere" in the country.

In this way wind energy is becoming “increasingly part of our cultural landscape”.

The new decree is intended to give the expansion new impetus.

Districts, the wind industry and residents receive assistance

On more than 80 pages, it gives the districts, the wind industry and affected residents instruments and assistance on where and under what conditions wind farms can be set up.

With the very complex planning, they should have a kind of manual with the decree, which not only mentions legal requirements but also previous case law.

The state government in Hanover also sees its decree as a signal to the federal government to accelerate the expansion of wind power.

By 2040 at the latest, Lower Saxony wants to cover its energy needs entirely from renewable energies.

"We set that in the state constitution," said Lies.

This arithmetically requires 30 gigawatts of installed wind energy on land.

There should be at least 20 gigawatts by 2030.

That is why you need "now a significantly faster extension".

Lower Saxony therefore wants to make more space available for wind turbines.

Even “the careful opening of the forest for wind energy” is now planned for this.

Without clearing, no wind turbines

Placing wind turbines in the forest is a controversial interference with nature that is rejected by many conservationists and conservationists.

An average of 0.4 hectares of forest has to be cleared for a system.

In return, there are more possible areas for the systems.

From 2030 onwards, 2.1 percent of the land area in Lower Saxony should be usable for wind energy.

So far, 1.4 percent has been agreed.

This corresponds to an area of ​​around 67,000 hectares.

"The new wind energy decree makes it clear that enough space must be available for the expansion of wind energy," said Lies.

There should be protection of existing wind turbines for the locations of existing wind turbines, even if a more powerful plant is built in the course of a renovation.

There is no fixed minimum distance between the wind turbines and the residential area; what matters is the specific impairment for residents.

The management of the restructuring of the energy supply, which is necessary for climate policy, is "a task for society as a whole to contribute as much as possible to the achievement of the goals."

The Greens in the Landtag criticized the fact that the decree lacked mandatory land targets for all districts in order to finally create enough space for wind energy.

The schedule is also criticized.

"It would be necessary to reserve at least 2.1 percent of the country's area for nature-friendly wind energy use - and that with immediate effect," said MP Imke Byl.

Greens criticize the state government for hesitant behavior

Instead of accelerating the approval process or adequately strengthening the renewal of old wind turbines, the SPD and CDU persisted in the small and small.

The lobby association for renewable energies Lower Saxony / Bremen (LEE) called on the districts to designate mandatory areas for wind power.

"We now expect the state government to set guidelines for the area targets to be achieved on site through the reorganization of the regional spatial planning", said LEE Vice Managing Director Marie Kollenrott.

"Evasive maneuvers and the refusal of individual municipalities are no longer acceptable and irresponsible in view of the dramatically advancing climate change with all its consequences."

Lower Saxony presented a draft for a new spatial planning program in December 2020.

In it, the new expansion goals of the wind farms should be laid down as principles and wind energy should be made possible in certain forest areas.

"We are increasing the expansion targets, bringing them forward and enlarging the area on which wind power is possible," said Lies.

In the expansion of wind power, species protection should also no longer retain the high priority that it previously had in approval procedures. Lies had already said before that the national regulations on species protection should aim to preserve the entire species and not to protect the individual animal. Otherwise the necessary expansion of wind energy would not be possible.