Within the scope of a 2.5-year study, the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) and the Renewable Energy Association of North Rhine-Westphalia (LEE NRW) investigated the effects of switching from fixed feed-in tariffs to auctions on the community wind sector, that is wind energy, which is owned and controlled locally by local groups. In addition to an analysis of the legal framework conditions, affected community wind actors were interviewed several times in the years 2017 to 2019.
The interviewed experts rated the auctions from the beginning very negative, especially with regard to the additional risk and the increasing complexity. Many people wish for a return to the previous system of feed-in tariffs, which is non-discriminatory and open to everyone. At the same time, significant obstacles related to licensing law, particularly from the areas of air traffic control, military airspace use and nature conservation, are preventing the further expansion of wind energy throughout Germany.
Stefan Gsänger, WWEA Secretary General: “The German Government has missed all three goals, which it has linked with the introduction of auctions: Neither has it reached its installation targets nor have the auctions achieved cost-effective results, and also the diversity of actors has suffered greatly since the beginning of 2017, which calls into question the acceptance of wind energy and the energy transition as a whole. Germany was once a global role model for the introduction of renewable energies, not only technologically but also through the strong involvement of its citizens. This role model has been lost since the introduction of auctions. “
The policy of the NRW state government on wind energy is perceived very negatively, which is mainly related to the planning law deterioration in NRW. The new State Development Plan (LEP), in principle, provides for a distance requirement of 1,500 meters to residential areas, practically a forest ban and obligatory regulation of wind energy via regional planning. Although these changes did not come into effect until July 2019, the continuing discussions in the run-up had already created great uncertainty in the industry.
“In addition to distortions caused by the auctions and considerable barriers under licensing law, the state government’s new planning law requirements are creating strong problems for community wind. In the future, hardly any land will be available for community wind projects. For wind energy development, this is highly counterproductive,” says LEE NRW Managing Director Jan Dobertin.
See the complete press release here.
Download the report in English.
- Community Wind under the Auction Model: A Critical Appraisal, WWEA Policy Paper Series (PP-02-19).