Wind turbines or protection of species? Lemke considers the conflict to be solvable

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Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke sees no insurmountable differences between species conservationists and wind energy © Kay Nietfeld / dpa

It is an ongoing conflict that nature conservationists repeatedly draw attention to: How can the protection of animals be reconciled with a massive expansion of wind turbines? The Environment Minister is confident that there are solutions to this.

Berlin – Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke considers the conflict between species protection and the expansion of wind turbines to be solvable. “When it comes to the decline in bird populations and their habitats, we will resolve what is now a potential area of ​​conflict as a result of the expansion of renewables, constructively between the ministries,” said the Greens politician to the German Press Agency. The conflict is “not as big as that between nature conservation and agriculture or between nature conservation and the use of fossil fuels”. The construction of motorways and trunk roads also poses more problems for species protection than new wind turbines, said Lemke. It is the “trademark of this federal government” to tackle such hurdles together.

The risk to birds from wind turbines can be “reduced in several ways,” said Lemke. It mainly depends on the right locations and “reasonable planning”. “That means identifying areas where wind power should have priority and which ones where wind turbines will be excluded.” According to Lemke, if wind turbines are already in operation, technologies can also be used “that recognize when there is a high risk for animals and then switch off the system automatically”.

The new federal government is pursuing the goal of making two percent of the state area available for wind turbines in the future. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, only about 0.8 percent of the total area nationwide was designated for onshore wind power by the end of 2020 and only about 0.5 percent was actually available for it.

Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) expressed his confidence in the government survey in the Bundestag this week that the expansion of wind turbines in Germany could go well. Lemke’s answer to the question of whether the two percent mark can be reached is clear: “Absolutely.”

Again and again, conservationists criticize new wind turbines because they see the protection of animals endangered. This currently also applies to the expansion of wind power on the high seas. It was not until Thursday that the nature conservation association Nabu sounded the alarm about the plans for new plants in the North and Baltic Seas, because the association believes that they pose a threat to seabirds and harbor porpoises. (dpa)

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