Hesse's Economics Minister Tarek Al-Wazir (The Greens) already expressed his anger at the beginning of 2014 about a phenomenon that has prevented the expansion of renewable energies for many years.

"Some people who are fighting for the red kite today still thought months ago that they were Serbian rioters." Species protection.

This should be over now.

At least that's what it says in the coalition agreement that the SPD, FDP and Greens agreed on in Berlin.

Ewald Hetrodt

Correspondent for the Rhein-Main-Zeitung in Wiesbaden.

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It is particularly important for Hessen.

Because there the expansion of wind energy is making slow progress.

According to the Federal Wind Energy Association, just nine turbines were built in the first half of 2021.

In Lower Saxony there were 48 in the same period, in Brandenburg and in North Rhine-Westphalia 40 each. The increase has also been low in previous years.

Not a single new wind turbine was installed in the first half of 2019.

“Exuberant nature conservation problems”, named the interest group as the decisive cause.

Legal action is taken against almost every new wind turbine.

Energy supply through species protection

The coalition agreement presented in Berlin on Wednesday is not the first attempt to take their legal instruments out of the hands of opponents of wind power.

Last year, a conference of environment ministers from the federal and state levels, chaired by the Hessian Green politician Priska Hinz, called for a legal framework to "make the approval process for wind turbines efficient and legally secure".

What was meant by this emerged from a decree issued by the Green Ministers Al-Wazir and Hinz earlier this year.

In this, the expansion of renewable energy is given such paramount importance that in case of doubt "the public interest in the energy supply clearly outweighs the public interest in the protection of species".

The Hessian Administrative Court rejected the decree in a downright devastating emergency decision.

But she and many of her colleagues in the other federal states stuck to the plan to remove species protection as an obstacle to the expansion of wind energy.

With the current Ampel coalition agreement, you have achieved your goal - at least on paper.

Page 56 in particular has a green handwriting.

Withdraw protection from individual animals

As in the Wiesbaden decree, it is also about energy supply on the one hand and species protection on the other. "When weighing up protected interests, we are committed to giving priority to renewable energies for a limited time until climate neutrality is achieved," says the coalition agreement. The protection of species is of secondary importance. What is meant in the same paragraph by a “stronger focus on population protection” can only be understood by those who are familiar with the debate that is being waged between politicians, lawyers and conservationists. Up to now, planned wind turbines have often failed due to bird species living nearby, because the law does not allow the killing of individual individuals with rotors. This should be accepted in future as long as the conservation of the species is not endangered as a whole.“Population protection” sounds positive, but in plain language it means withdrawing protection from individual animals.

This is what the representatives of the likely future government want to do “on a European level”.

This announcement is due to the fact that the so-called population protection contradicts the European jurisprudence.

The European Court of Justice ruled in March that not only the population but every single bird is worth protecting.

But not only the European level, but also the federal states are involved.

According to the coalition agreement, a nationwide evaluation method is necessary for the “species protection assessment of wind energy projects”.

It is likely to be a major legal challenge to standardize practice in the federal states without the consent of the Federal Council.

Not without the CDU

But nothing goes there without the consent of the Union.

Because it is involved in ten of the 16 state governments.

In Hesse, of course, the coalition agreement still applies.

Only if the CDU and the Greens are in agreement will the country vote yes in the Federal Council.

There are dangers lurking here for the inner peace of the CDU and the coalition.

Wind energy is already a controversial issue in the Union.

If the party leadership is too accommodating to the Greens on this point, opposition is likely to arise.

If the Union does not give in, it may even let the Green's planned traffic light projects fail in the state chamber, this worsens the already irritable mood in the coalition.

This does not only apply to climate policy.