Bavaria’s controversial 10H rule, which sets a minimum distance between wind turbines and settlements, largely slowed down the expansion of wind power in the state, a report by the Bavarian ministry of economic affairs (StMWi) found. The rule, which was passed in 2014 by ruling conservative party CSU, establishes that the minimum distance between a wind turbine and the nearest settlement must be 10 times the height of the turbine. Modern wind turbines reach heights of more than 200 metres. The state government report, which was due to be published in 2020, was put online in July 2022 without alerting the general public, Bavarian broadcaster BR24 reports. “Now the CSU also has it in black and white: the 10 H was the beginning of the end,” said the Greens’ regional parliamentary group energy policy spokesman Martin Stümpfig, calling for the abolishment of the rule.
The evaluation examined the effects of the 10H rule on the expansion of wind energy in Bavaria between 2014 and 2019. It found that the growth had “stalled throughout Germany”, but “there has been an earlier and more severe slump in Bavaria” that continues beyond the reporting period. Eight wind turbines were added in Bavaria in 2020 and another 8 in 2021 and, for the first time, no new applications for approval were submitted in 2021. Despite boasting one of the largest solar and hydro power capacities, Germany’s biggest state has one of the lowest wind power capacities in the country, a fact that the wind power industry and environmental groups largely blame on the state’s strict minimum distance rules. Local officials have now come to the same conclusion. However, in the wake of the energy crisis, Bavaria’s state government announced in April that it would relax the rule by allowing for exceptions.
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