Wind in Germany Down 80 Percent

The German wind energy industry association released numbers for 2019. Installations are down 80 percent compared to 2017. This is the lowest record since 2000, the year the law on priority for renewable energy was enacted.

That does not look like success. This drastic failure comes after the support policy was changed to an auction model. I for one am convinced that this change was one of the main reasons. Anybody arguing to the contrary needs to explain what else might have been the reason.

And this is certainly no good time to extend the rule of having 1000 meters distance from buildings for new projects from Bavaria to the whole country. If anything, we need much more areas available for new projects.

I recall that for lignite mining projects, whole villages like Gorleben have been torn down, citing a public interest in cheap energy. That conflict went right up to the Federal Constitutional Court. And the people insisting there is a public interest in having the dirtiest energy possible actually won at the time.

Is there not a public interest in low CO2 energy? Is that public interest not much more urgent than that of cheap electricity? Is having to look at a wind park from your home not much less of a burden than having your whole village flattened by bulldozers and turned into a big hole in the ground?

No one is asking people to relocate because of new wind parks. Not yet, anyway, though maybe policy should ask for that, considering the urgency of the emergency. It is only a question of getting used to a slightly different view from your house.

Both the failed auction policy and the failed distance regulation need to be retracted. And the CDU has not much time left to act. Last year’s vote for the European Parliament was a yellow card. Voters are not going to allow messing up climate policy much longer.

This downturn in business comes with loss of jobs in the wind industry. If the present situation persists, the industry association expects another 25 percent of jobs to go away.

On the other hand, there is a bright side. If the German government succeeds in their mission to bring wind installation in Germany down to zero, that means much more need for desert renewable energy projects. Build some massive wind parks in the Sahara or the Mongolian Gobi. Transport the energy to Germany using hydrogen or quicklime, as long as the power lines are not yet built. Use the German military forces to build those projects, in cooperation with those of other EU states. Go for big scale and quick progress.

If you need to keep 1000 kilometers distance from any building to have a wind park, then going for the deserts would be one obvious solution.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003,

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