Conservative CSU and Free Voters pledge to include climate protection in the constitution, but don’t lift a damaging wind distance rule.
Containing a growing Green Party opposition seems to be at the core of a new coalition agreement in conservative-led Bavaria, but details – in particular for wind power – remained sketchy.
At state elections last month in Germany’s second-most populous state, the ruling and previously dominant Christian Social Union (CSU) lost more than 10 percentage points and ended with its worst result since 1950 with 37.2%. The Greens doubled their voting share to 17.6% and became the second biggest party in Bavaria, but narrowly missed forcing the CSU into a coalition with them.
As a result, the CSU was now able to form a new coalition government with a narrow majority with the Free Voters (FW), a more moderate regional conservative group rooted in rural areas that garnered 11.6% of the votes.
The coalition contract between the CSU and the FW now presented promises to include climate protection in the state’s constitution – which had been a demand by the Greens – and create a state agency for energy and climate protection.
“But the big question is how the constitutional change will look like in practice,” former Green member of the German parliament Hans-Josef Fell says.
While the coalition contract states Bavaria will consequently continue the expansion of renewable energies, it doesn’t say how.
On the contrary, it also states that for wind, it will maintain current legislation in Bavaria – a hint at maintaining a damaging 10-times-the-tip-height distance rules for wind projects enacted in 2014 that has since brought new wind developments in the state, Germany’s biggest by territory, to a standstill.
“The exceptional situation of Bavaria with its strict blockade of wind power thus is not supposed to change,” Fell lamented.
The contract seems somewhat more positive for solar energy, however, where it intends to lobby with the federal government to lift a cap of 52GW after which no more support will be paid for PV in Germany. Listing the solar support ceiling has been a demand of the industry.
There are some bright spots in the new coalition contract of what is one of Germany’s key states, but the lack of much detail and the resistance to abolish the damaging wind distance rule smack of an attempt at ‘green washing’ to keep the rising Green Party at bay.
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