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Opinion of the BUND on the Middle-West Regional Development Plan Concerning Wind Energy from the State Assembly, December 9, 2003

According to the decisions of the State Administrative Court Koblenz and the Federal Administrative Court, the upcoming plan concerning the use of wind energy is planned for examination. This assessment needs clear criteria, proper time and must be legally sound. As the chief planner was overwhelmed, the Structural Certification Office was placed in charge of the northern section of the plan preparation.

The BUND has reviewed the specific and overall aspects of the draft plan position. Detailed critique has been lodged from numerous working groups on various points.

Specified by the ruling of the Federal Administrative Court on March 13, 2003 and December 17, 2002, the development plan states:

  • The Middle-West region will have a uniform design concept
  • Exceptions by law-makes may move wind parks outside of favoured areas
  • Wind energy use will occur within certain areas and be bounded by courtesy zones
  • Details on the appropriation of land for energy use

In addition, the court specified a ban on “prevention planning”.


BUND Position:It is our opinion that the aforementioned criteria were not presented fairly in the draft, but it was a slight improvement over the previous plan. However, the previous plan did not stand in court and the same is expected for the new draft. The BUND considers the meaningful and practical use of renewable energy and the protection of the natural landscape to be of critical importance. This plan would allow wind turbines to be erected almost anywhere. This is not meant as a criticism of wind energy, but also not as an avocation of unplanned wind parks that are not beneficial.In the unlikely event that this plan does have the court’s support, one can not expect purposeful design and use of wind energy. The priority sites are found in low to moderate wind speed zones. A general overview shows that none of the identified priority sites have wind speeds greater than 6m/s at 50m height. This remains under the effective limit of 5.5m/s; furthermore, it violates the above-mentioned Federal Administrative Court’s ruling, producing two negative consequences:

  1. The use of wind energy will be discontinued if appropriate sites can not be located. This does not responsibly account for climate protection laws.
  2. Wind energy may be placed onto less suitable land where the yield is lower. Thus, turbines may be built to a greater altitude or multiple turbines may be constructed to increase yields. The risk of “write-off” projects is growing. This course of action is counterproductive and inappropriate with regards to landscape protection.

The plan is not well suited to surfaces conductive to wind energy (5.5.m/s at 50m Height) and the use of less suitable land will cause environmental degradation. According to the draft plan, the collected wind data was observational. This is seen in the collection of the minimum required initial wind speed of 3.5m/s at almost every site, clear ignorance or arrogance of the plan provider. Such a low wind speed would result in a yield that is equivalent to 10-50% of an average investment, notable because the yield increases with a linear wind speed increase to the third power. This figure shows that the wind potential would have to be seriously examined. The only goal of the plan provider is to restrict the areas with the highest potential and increase profits. In the future, the proposed amendment to the Renewable Energy Law is expected to close turbines that do not reach 65% of the average yield. This fact alone makes a complete revision absolutely necessary. The gaps in the plan are not comprehensible. The minimum distance of 3km between wind parks is mentioned only briefly. In view of the often required and reasonable concentration of wind turbines, the BUND offers another view. The steps taken to protect the landscape are, in our opinion, not adequate. Several court decisions have allowed lands, previously restricted, to be used in order to accelerate the expansion of renewable energy. The protection of bird routes and habitats was largely ignored due to their uneven and changing distributions. Similarly, buffer zones were considered unimportant as they were addressed in previous, inadequate EU plans. It is the intention of the government to revise the minimum distance (500m) between wind parks and settlements downward.Obvious criticism is directed at the section, “Standard Exclusion Areas”. When applied, nearly 83% of the total area in question is classified as unsuitable for wind energy. Though these areas are open to other developments such as; industrial parks, commercial zones, roads and etc…However, this restriction is eased in wooded conservation or park areas, due to structural considerations. Wind parks provide numerous benefits, but incite certain changes that should not be allowed in these important areas. Legal designation of wind sites outside the favored areas must be restricted in nature and biosphere preserves. The draft plan does not account for these points, and the exclusion of wind energy and tolerance of other polluting industries is clear discrimination.At this point, it is clear that another aspect of the Federal Administrative Court’s ruling is not respected, the unacceptable “prevention planning”. This is visible in the large planning areas, such as, Kreis Ahrweiler, that are to remain totally restricted.Existing turbines have protection. This is necessary as the new plan lists occupied land as non-priority or reserved areas. It makes little sense not to continue development of these proven, useful surfaces. Here too, the draft plan has achieved the opposite of what was intended: to protect the landscape. Replacing a small plant with a larger one is not allowed. To achieve the same performance of a large turbine, three of four smaller turbines must be constructed. This could not have been the intention of the plan provider.The BUND is a proponent of wind energy and its use wherever legally possible and with respect to nature conservation. Exclusion areas or restriction zones, free of turbines, should follow the Rheinland-Pfalz Landscape Management Plan and include nature reserves and parks. Such exclusions as in the draft plan may protect the environment, but are not reasonable or useful. Furthermore, the draft plan offers no protection to important nature parks. In §16 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act, the protection of recreation and tourism are secured. Thus, wind turbines should be planned in accordance.


Summary:We reject the draft due to its lack of foresight and planning. The main faults are:

  • Unbalanced and unstructured
  • Failure to meet the requirements of the Federal Building Code
  • Does not recognize high-potential sites (5.5m/s at 50m height), only low to moderate sites
  • Unacceptable “prevention planning”
  • Lack of improvement when compared to past plans
  • Unclear legal status
  • Does not take future changes in legislation into consideration

We urge the planning community to revise the present draft and address the concerns mentioned above.



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