Germany’s Giant Windmills Are Wildly Unpopular

From Bloomberg

Local politics are a bigger problem for renewable energy growth than competition from fossil fuels.

By
Leonid Bershidsky

October 31, 2019, 12:00 AM EDT

Despite their surging popularity in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, the Greens did badly in last Sunday’s election in the German state of Thuringia, and the nationalists from the Alternative for Germany Party (AfD) did very well. An important reason is that the Greens support wind energy and the AfD militates against wind turbines. The giant windmills have grown so unpopular in neighboring communities that their construction in Germany has all but ground to a halt.

There are nearly 30,000 wind turbines in Germany, more than anywhere else in Europe. Only China and the U.S., both much bigger countries, have more. Germany gets 23.5% of its energy from wind this year; it’s the biggest source of renewable energy for the country. But in the first half of 2019, only 35 wind turbines were added — an 82% drop compared with the first six months of 2018. Last year was bad, too: Just 743 turbines were added, compared with 1,792 in 2017.

This is happening because it’s getting harder to get permission to erect the turbine towers. Local regulations are getting stricter. Bavaria decided back in 2014 that the distance between a wind turbine and the nearest housing must be 10 times the height of the mast, which, given the density of dwellings, makes it hard to find a spot anywhere. Wind energy development is practically stalled in the state now. Brandenburg, the state surrounding Berlin, passed a law this year demanding that wind-farm operators pay 10,000 euros ($11,100) per turbine each year to communities within 3 kilometers of the windmills.

Wind projects are also often rejected or stalled because they’re deemed to interfere with military communications, air traffic control or broadcast radio stations.

Besides, local opponents of the wind farms often go to court to stall new developments or even have existing towers dismantled. According to the wind-industry lobby BWE, 325 turbine installations with a total capacity of more than 1 gigawatt (some 2% of the country’s total installed capacity) are tied up in litigation.

Full article here.

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85 thoughts on “Germany’s Giant Windmills Are Wildly Unpopular

  1. The people who authorise these sorts of decisions don’t care what the locals think. It’s like when 800 non-european migrants arriving in a town in Germany where the local citizens were told “If you don’t like it, you can leave Germany”.

      • They use to have those. They started out as a youth movement wearing brown shirts and jack boots Then Adolph turned them into the Gestapo.

        Who will our historians record as the early 21st Century Heinrich Himmler? Greta? Maybe XR’s Sarah Lunnon. She’s a real piece of work. I think for the sake of the Feminist Movement it needs to be a woman or at least a man that thinks they are a woman.

        The problem with this Post-Modernist lunacy is that it is so very hard to keep up with the lunatics.

    • If you don’t like it, you can leave Germany.

      Oh no, there’s another alternative. You can vote for AfD. This is like, because the Democrats betrayed the forgotten people, they were rewarded with the election of President Trump. Any party, like the Democrats, who thinks the people have no other alternative, is wrong. The people do have alternatives.

    • Anti-nativism, including but not limited to diversity (i.e. color judgment), has been progressive policy for several decades, over a century, really, but accelerated with social justice adventures forcing immigration reform in a bid for redistributive change and gerrymandered districts.

    • In our town here i Germany the migrants are everywhere Why ? because they don’t work ! why should they work ? a family that lives near me has 6 children 2 wives rent paid (165 sqm ) electric paid, heating paid a new Opel 7 seater, 3.000 euros cash a month he does not work, but joins his friend at the coffee shop all day Meanwhile old German people have trouble paying there rent .

        • Oh we call her fuhrerin Merkel here. She did more for exit than all the politicians here when she invited in the Syrians and in the next sentence said free entry to the UK was a condition of membership and not negotiable. I think it was a deliberate intention to send us all of that burden that is so heavy a load in the mainland.

      • So strange that we were assured a couple of years ago that these migrants were mostly highly-trained doctors and engineers who were going to redynamise the German economy.

  2. For years, the city of San Francisco Complained about the elevated Embarcadero freeway that destroyed the bay view from all of the East-facing portions of the city. The city finally forced CAL Trans to tear the giant eyesore down. In its place the city added landscape and pedestrian pathways.

    I believe we will eventually see local municipalities force the removal of vast wind factories (don’t call them farms) blighting the natural landscape. They are a shocking and horrific eyesore

  3. Canada has a similar problem with NIMBYs opposing pipelines.

    The NIMBY concept may also be applied to people who advocate some proposal (e.g., budget cuts, tax increases, layoffs, immigration or energy conservation) but oppose implementing it in a way that might affect their lives or require any sacrifice on their part.

    The problem is that, if everyone has a veto, nothing will ever happen and civilization will grind to a halt.

    • True, there is a balance. But there is also a fair point regarding ownership. I’m limited to building 30 percent floorspace of the total property area. So the city denies me my right to use my property how I will, and it is not a question about do I disturb anyone or spoil their view, or does any neighbour reject my plans – which I could affect by paying with money. But the same city that denies me living more comfortably on my property gives free hands to people who set up a high mast, moving blades and a low freq disturbing swoosh sound. So what I want is fair rules what you may do on your property.

      Another issue is forcibly taking. Pipelines and stuff like that often require a small amount of space which is not bought for the full price, rather a legal process is set up depending on the jurisdiction, and voila, you are poorer than before and someone is digging gold from under your demolished house, or you may keep your house but a new highway makes it less valuable. There should be a right to retain the value of your property in any regulatory work that demolishes its value over night. I mean if they want to build a pipeline in your garden at less than 25 years, ‘they’ should be forced to offer to buy the property for its full price, the faster operation the more on terms of the forced seller. If the plan is really long term, like 50 years, in my opinion people should only be compensated for loss of value.

      Many European countries fail badly there. The city has lots of possibilities to buy property cheap and sell it expensive, forcing people to suffer arbitrary losses. On the other hand, they have the possibility of not doing that, which makes it even more injustified towards those who happen to have their estate confiscated for development.

      Another short term issue is ditching a long term established plan. There is a reservation for a highway, the estate owners have forcibly given up their rights, and then the city replans housing, again virtually over night. This should never happen. If you confiscate property, you should not be allowed to change the plan to make money instead of the critical infra the property was for. That’s corruption.

      And then there’s the lolly part of independent subunit vs. the metropolitan corruption. Local councils may plan their area optimizing for them. Metropolitan areas may plan for the dismay of a subunit.

      For example we were denied a necessary, long planned highway by green metropolitan planners, but the neighboring property got it’s permitted floorspace doubled in a typical city council corruption. Owners are not equal, and the city as the property owner is somehow very capable of corrupting council to make money for the city.

      In short, I don’t know any place on Earth where a person could own land. You may hold some rights, but given a motive, they’ll come and take it. And before that, you’ll pay the property tax from the property they can take from you. That’s communism for you.

      • Hugs

        Mate, it’s much, much worse than you think.

        Wind turbines don’t just produce “a low freq disturbing swoosh sound”

        You can’t hear the really damaging low frequency sound these things produce which causes birth deformities in fetuses, dramatic thickening of the Epicardium (Outer wall of the heart) amongst numerous other debilitating conditions which will ultimately kill you rather quickly.

        Too dramatic a claim?

        Not according to this Physicist who has spent her working career studying the effects of low frequency sound waves:

        https://tinyurl.com/y5fwnr69

      • Cancel is a euphemism for abortion (e.g. elective termination), not limited to the planned parenthood protocol, under the established Pro-Choice quasi-religion (“ethics”), selective, opportunistic, politically congruent. A wicked solution.

    • Windmills are 17th century technoogy and have no place in a civilized country. Compare them to mollten salt SMRs and their disadvantages in tems of practicality, environmental footprint, economics, safety,
      and everything else are huge. Only braindeads would ever errect windmills.

      • Even in the doomsday book (1086) they are recorded as being unreliable sources of energy and had the tax assessment on them lowered to one third of that of a water wheel! It seems our elite are less educated now than they were then.

    • In my area, the BANANA concept has overtaken the NIMBY concept. It is “Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything” concept. Clearly a utopian fantasy, but one with votes.

  4. This is the reason why such large windmills are now invading Norway. They are shipped to our country and put up on our beautiful mountains. We are supposed to be the ‘battery’ for Europe, where renewable cheap energy is produced. In 1940 we suffered the German invasion of our country. It lasted for 5 years, before they we chased out. This time, they, and many other nations are invading us again, with heavy machinery and equipment. Not guns and cannons this time, but great big windmills. I wonder how long it will last this time. Perhaps 50 years?

  5. Not to nitpick, but these are wind generators not wind mills. A mill grinds grain into flour while these generate electricity. The only thing they have in common is use of the wind.

  6. Rule of Thumb: On-shore wind has about a 30% – 35% capacity factor, there is no technology that can “fix” that. So when grid dependence goes above capacity factor, then either blackouts or very expensive alternative backups appear as imposed costs on the users.
    Germany at 23.5% is already beginning to feel that reality.

    Any bets on what the Socialists there will do to try and stop the all but certain coming middle class German unrest on the Greens and their schemes?

      • Germans and Danes need to think of the 30% wind power on their electricity grid as an asymptote function of price vs. Megawatt supplied.

        As wind power contribution incrementally approaches that asymptote, the price for paying for a MegaWatt-hour of electricity from the grid will grow exponentially.

        The French rioted and brought a revolution due to high bread prices in 1790. They rioted again in 2018-19 over proposed fuel taxes.
        What will Germans do when electricity becomes unaffordable due to Green energy schemes?

        • At 33 cents a KWH it already seems unaffordable to me. I’m not happy with an energy plus T&D combined cost of 13.5 cents KWH here in Texas.

        • It is not 1790 – the best nuclear reactor technology is still known. And Nordstream 2 is going fully ahead whether Pence likes it or not.

    • “30% – 35% capacity factor”

      In UK Norfolk, Swaffham, there’s an Ecotricity big turbine which has a read out. CF 27%. In Suffolk the CF is about 25%.

      I’ve read that UK CF for solar panels is 11% Is that right?

      JF

    • 30% to 35% is reasonable for the best wind sites.

      There are two problems.

      The first problem.
      On shore wind turbine capacity factor (time it is running) is dependent on shore site selection.

      There are limited number of place on shore where a wind turbine can achieve a capacity factor of 30% to 3%%. The problem is there needs to land available not too close to residents. The first wind turbines are in stalled in the best locations.

      The second which you point out is there needs to be a load for all power generated in real time. As there are entire months when wind speed is low batteries for load shifting (say from fall to winter) do not work.

      Germany cheats by exporting wind power to other countries. That scheme would not work if every EU country wasted as much money as Germany did.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/12/21/germanys-green-transition-has-hit-a-brick-wall/

      Germany has installed solar and wind power to such an extent that it should theoretically be able to satisfy the power requirement on any day that provides sufficient sunshine and wind. However, since sun and wind are often lacking – in Germany even more so than in other countries like Italy or Greece – the country only manages to produce around 27% of its annual electric power needs from these sources.

      In 2017 about half of Germany’s wind-based electricity production was exported. Neighboring countries typically do not want this often unexpected power, and the German power companies must therefore pay them to get rid of the excess. German customers have to pick up the bill.

  7. Charles Mackay 1841: “Men go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

  8. Absolute nonsense.

    A huge percentage of German wind turbines are community owned.

    Yes, the regulations are tighter and there’s a backlog through planning: no there isn’t a rebellion against renewables or turbines.

    (I was pleased last week to be able to see large wind turbines on the horizon from my Berlin city centre hotel. By the way there were absolutely no power cuts and the streets were clean and safe late into the night)

    • What’s a “huge percentage”? Given the quality of your other claims, I suspect it is somewhere south of 5%.

      The number being built is plummeting, but rest assured, the German’s still love them.
      That goes right up there with griff’s repeated claims over the years that arctic ice has entered a death spiral.

      • Greg61

        Good god, how utterly stupid are these greens 😡 600 acres for just seven bird killers 😡😡😡

        • I don’t know what the output of those 7 bird-choppers are (15-20MW of intermittent power?), but where I worked, the 340 MW coal plant took about 30 acres, including the coal storage pile and transmission yard.

    • I was pleased last week to be able to see large wind turbines on the horizon from my Berlin city centre hotel. By the way there were absolutely no power cuts

      I hope you won’t believe, Berlins power is generated by the windmills you saw 😀
      If yes, you have coustomed a nice stuff 😀

    • There are numerous groups in Germany campaigning against wind turbines in their local neighbourhoods, if you want to call it “rebellion” or not is up to you. The fact that there are indeed no power cuts is entirely due to the conventional power plants still in place at sufficient capacity. If and when a sizeable portion should be shut down – as is currently planned -, you will see blackouts. And the wind turbines will not help one bit.

    • “griff November 3, 2019 at 1:30 am:

      Absolute nonsense.

      A huge percentage of German wind turbines are community owned.”

      – Griff. As usual, knowingly and deliberately misjudged.

      The truth is: in order to win the fellow citizens over to their side, the windelec professionals allow that fellow citizens to join into the business.

      To ~15% share, max. You don’t have to reveal everything to all and everyone.

  9. How is it “Green” to chop up millions of our friends, the birds, bats, and insects? It looks like the use of the title “Green” is misused, and intentionally so. So, who is the target of this intentional misuse? Not Watts readers, they are too smart for that, so what segment of the loony left is the target audience? How long before someone starts to feel used?

    • Ron, it is not just birds, bats and insects being chopped up , but whole, mature , forests to judge from the recent item in Notrickszone:
      https://notrickszone.com/2019/10/30/german-city-of-aachen-cuts-down-over-600-acres-of-natural-forests-to-install-seven-200-meter-tall-wind-turbines/
      To quote:
      -“What follows is an example of how German decisionmakers go about protecting the environment: chop down hundreds of acres of forests and pour thousands of tons on concrete reinforced with hundreds of tons of steel on huge beds of gravel, all hauled in by hundreds of truck loads. Then install skyscraper tall industrial bird-killing monstrosities.
      Result: an idyllic forest gets turned into an industrial complex that can be seen and felt from miles away – in order to protect the climate.
      It would be a gruesome task to calculate the environmental and CO2 budget for the following described wind park project in the Münsterwald forest near the western Germany city of Aachen.
      When finished it will consist of seven 200-meter tall turbines in what once was a natural, forested area and undisturbed biotope”-
      Clearly we, or certainly I, need someone to help us understand how this makes sense economically or ecologically

    • “our friends, the birds, bats, and insects”

      Funny. Unless they’re in your house as pets, they’re considered pests.

      • Ok Jeff, I admit I even shoot and eat birds myself, but we probably shouldn’t let that out or it could seem like mixed messages. Just saying.

      • Jeff, the greens are able to hug trees.

        Would ya pls. spare them to hug their friends, the birds, bats, and insects.

        While they’re in your house as pets, they’re considered pests, so the greens must be given the chance to overlook their need for friendly body contacts.

  10. There are concerns of interference between radar altimeters and wind turbines. This is a murky situation since we’re not supposed to fly low anywhere near windmills however “radio altitude disagree” and subsequent auto-pilot brutal disengagement is that unexplained something one last needs in misty fog or light rain at night when established to Hambourg for example.

    There’s not that much opportunity at below 2500 feet to think what might have caused it this time.

  11. The linked chart appears to show that Germany gets 23.5% of its ELECTRICITY from wind, not ENERGY. Are a quarter of vehicles on German roads electric? Does no one cook with gas? Is there not a single wood-burning stove?

  12. How old is this program in Germany? 15 years? Maybe 20 years? And the German government still hasn’t figured out that it is not cost-effective at all, and that it is destructive of wild life necessary to stop the spread of some serious diseases?

    What kind of loons run these scams on people and think it’s okay?? Oh, wait – there’s that CA governor who blames everyone but the right people for the wildfires, and then whines about the whole thing, and an NY governor who wants to keep natgas from people for use as a heating source, because CARBON!!!!

  13. We should call them what they really are – giant, hulking, view-destroying, quality-of-life diminishing, expensive, mostly-useless Cuisinarts.

  14. Perhaps X R should be targeting these people who do not know what is good for them. It should result in some good video clips!

  15. Those of a certain age will remember that what we now call the Green Movement actually started in Germany, and spread outwards. The German population being generally concerned with order, accepted the Green argument despite the late Chancellor Kohl’s comparison of Greens being like unripe tomatoes in that they turn red.

    Its interesting that they now seem to be pushing back, and this article combined with the popularity of the F-You Greta bumper stickers there might be an early indication that the Green Bubble has reached maximum inflation ?

    Indeed the level of hyperbole being employed by the CC argument these days does seem to be attracting the attention of those who being busy with getting through life, and consequently not as aware of the state of play as readers here, are becoming aware of what they will be required to do without in the projected Green Utopia.

    What we really need now is for an actual extended Solar Minimum to get started. A few winters along the lines of 62/63 in Europe, accompanied by the inevitable power cuts thanks to renewable’s, and the party will essentially be over 🙂

  16. Trump said if a Windmill goes up within sight of your home, your home value drops by over 50 percent (I believe the figure he used was 65 percent, but I’m not certain).

    Trump is a real estate guy. He probably knows what he is talking about.

    I used to drive around the lovely German countryside before windmills. I can’t imagine what 30,000 windmills have done to this beauty area. I’m glad I saw it before all this human-caused climate change madness took place.

    With a few exceptions, I think the Western Democracies are being run by idiots. Idiocracy is real. Our leaders are too stupid to realize they are stupid.

    Thank God for Trump! Holding the Bridge all on his own. Well, that’s not true, he has at least 63 million people right behind him.

  17. Just use impact fees to stop them California style.

    But allowing the Russian pipeline is clearly not Californian. They hold such permits up for decades and then deny them.

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