Federal Council Against Bill Giving Federal States the Right to Stipulate Minimum Distances for Wind Power

In its 922nd session last Friday, the Federal Council (Bundesrat) decided against a bill amending the Federal Building Code so as to give the federal states the right to include minimum distances for wind power plants to residential housing.

Bundesrat considered the bill unnecessary, saying there was no need as the existing laws would provide enough opportunities to stipulate suitable distances. Besides the bill was counterproductive regarding the energy policy shift towards a renewable energy supply. The energy transition (Energiewende) was a national task that all federal states had to pursue together. This required a uniform regulatory framework.

In a joint statement the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDEW), the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) and the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) recently also spoke out against the bill.

Friday’s decision of the Bundesrat is only advisory, as procedurally it decision was only part of the first round of involvement of the Bundesrat. The Bundestag (Parliament) has not yet decided on the bill, though a first reading has taken place. In particular, Bundesrat did not (yet) invoke its constitutional right to call for a mediation committee pursuant to Article 77 para. 2  sent. 1 Basic Code, and may decide differently when presented with the Bundestag’s final decision on the bill.

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