Environment Minister Altmaier Calls on Länder to Cut Back Wind Power Expansion

After cutting solar feed-in tariffs to rein in solar expansion this summer, wind power expansion in Germany needed attention, Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said in a morning show of the public television station ZDF.  Wind power expansion in the sixteen German states had to be coordinated  and scaled back to a “reasonable level”, he demanded.

The wind power expansion plans of the federal states contained 60% more wind power plants than necessary for Germany’s energy policy shift towards a renewable energy supply. Renewable expansion should be spread over the next 40 years, Mr Altmaier said.  He reiterated the government’s goal of reaching a 35% renewable energy share by 2020 and a 80% share by 2050, but said Germany was currently overachieving, presumably reaching 25% by the end of 2012. At this rate renewables would account for 45% of the energy supply in 2020, Mr Altmaier said, pointing out the consequences for the electricity prices. Hence, he wanted to expand renewables, but in line with grid expansion and in view of the energy costs, he said.

Mr Altmaier’s remark of a “reasonable” growth of renewables also figures in a press release made on the occasion of the presentation of the study “Nature Data 2012” (Daten zur Natur 2012), which describes the state and use of the landscape in Germany and nature protection measures taken.

Not surprisingly, the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) sharply criticised Mr Altmaier’s remark, saying the actual expansion figures contradicted him. While roughly 2,700 MW were added in 2001 and approximately 3,200 MW in 2002, the last years only saw additions of between 1,500 and 2,000 MW. The government should clearly state its goals, BWE demanded, argueing that wind power was the most reliable and cost-efficient renewable energy source.

Source: Interview with Mr Altmaier; Federal Environment Ministry, press release Nature Data 2012; BWE

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