Wind power expansion: No more avoiding political conflict

Dhe history of wind power in Germany is also a history of political aversion to conflict and short-sightedness. For years, the federal government has stated that there will be a significant increase in demand for wind energy and has called for more systems. At the same time, it enabled the federal states to circumvent the expansion targets. The governments were happy to make use of the loopholes, for example in the form of distance rules for wind turbines. No local politician or member of the state parliament is keen on public protests against wind farms in sight. And the citizens quickly learned that those who fight back the hardest are the most likely to be spared.

Some state governments copied the strategy of potentially affected residents, above all the Bavarian one. Instead of defining expansion targets and ensuring that they are realised, the most well-known nationwide initiative against wind power was formed in the Munich State Chancellery in 2014. The 10-H rule devised by the CSU, according to which the minimum distance to residential buildings must be ten times the height of a facility, was and is an expression of political cowardice.

However, the consequences of this decision were not limited to Bavaria. The CSU has undermined the legitimacy of the energy transition as a whole. Why does a citizen in Westphalia have to put up with a wind turbine in the nearby forest, while someone in Upper Bavaria is spared?

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Nevertheless, Prime Minister Markus Söder recently announced that Bavaria will be climate-neutral by 2040, five years earlier than the federal government. He is likely to be guided by the hope that the CSU could reappear as a progressive party thanks to stricter climate targets. But getting there is likely to face numerous obstacles, not least elections.

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