Legal Perspectives on Bottom-up Approaches
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Marjan Peeters and Thomas Schomerus
Chapter 11: Legal aspects of local engagement: Land planning and citizens’ financial participation in wind energy projects
Regarding installed wind energy capacity, Germany is a forerunner in the EU-28. By the end of 2012, wind capacity had reached 31,332 MW – more than any other EU-Member State. Germany wishes to achieve the shift from fossil fuels and nuclear power generation to renewable energy by engendering the Energiewende, a complete turnaround in energy policy. By 2050, renewable energies should cover at least 80 per cent of German gross electricity consumption. In 2012, renewable energies already constituted 23.5 per cent of the consumption. Wind energy should become the backbone of the German energy transitionand play the major part in the expansion of installed renewable energies capacity. It is therefore necessary to extend the use and the development of wind energy. In 2012, wind energy already contributed 35.6 per cent of the electricity production among the renewable energy sources. In recent decades, Germany experienced a boost in wind energy development. According to a study of the German Wind Energy Association (BWE), in compliance with environmental issues, 7.9 per cent of the German surface would be suitable for onshore wind energy use. A further study, by the German Federal Environment Agency, estimates a potential of 13.8 per cent of the German surface as being appropriate for such use. However, neither species-protection nor radar facilities are considered in the study. As a consequence, the technical-ecological potential cannot be considered as being so great. Practical obstacles make the realizable potential for onshore wind energy even smaller. Such obstacles include objections by property owners or neighbours to wind-energy projects.
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