A second German state, Rhineland-Palatinate, plans to introduce a distance rule for wind developments that is likely to slow down the renewable source's rapid expansion in the inland region.
The plan to impose a minimum distance of up to 1,100 metres (in the case of large turbines) between new wind developments and the nearest housing comes as a concession in the coalition contract for a new state government to the Free Democrats (FDP) which are entering the government after elections in March.
The FDP had campaigned against the rapid expansion of wind power in the southern German state under the previous government between the Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens that has now lost its majority and needs the FDP in a three-way coalition to continue in power.
The planned distance regulation – although not as drastic as a similar rule in neighbouring Bavaria that stipulates a gap of 10 times the turbine height – will have a negative impact on the future wind power expansion in the state, Wilhelm Heyne, the head of the German wind energy federation BWE in Rhineland-Palatinate, tells Recharge.
"Of course that is a problem. It will cut away turbines from us," Heyne said, adding that the rule also doesn't bode well for repowering projects.
The Greens, which had pushed through a 100% RE target for the state by 2030, had to cede the limitation via the distance rule in order to impede far deeper cuts in the wind expansion demanded by the FDP.
The Greens were the main loser in elections on March 13, shedding 10.1 percentage points and falling back to a mere 5.3% of the vote in Rhineland Palatinate, while the FDP re-entered the state parliament with 6.2% of the vote.
The SPD was the winner with 36.2% in an election that also saw the far-right and anti-renewables Alternative for Germany (AfD) party gain seats in the state parliament for the first time with a shocking 12.6% of the vote.
The success of the AfD is shaking up Germany's party system and increasingly forces the established parties to enter unusual left-right coalitions.
The coalition contract between the SPD, FDP and Greens still has to be approved by party conferences of the SPD and FDP, and by a party-internal ballot of the Greens.
Wind currently accounts for 13.1% of Rhineland-Palatinate's electricity production.
The state now has an accumulated wind capacity of 2.7GW after 201MW were added in 2015. It is also home to developer Juwi, which in the past had fought hard for the establishment of wind power in the moderate-wind inland state.