Time is running out in determining priority areas for wind turbines. Only 103 cities and communities in the Munich region have reported to the Regional Planning Association (RPV) whether and where they can imagine plants in their area, or at least announced a statement. That means: 82 town halls have so far failed to give any explanation on the topic that “moves” people in the region like no other, like the RPV association chairman, Oberhaching’s mayor Stefan Schelle (CSU), on Tuesday at the Meeting of the planning committee in Munich said. There, in the chamber of commerce of the IHK, an interim status of wind power planning was presented.
The pressure to act increases with each passing day, because the Federal Government has made the requirement with the Wind-on-Land Act that at least 1.1 percent of the area of a region is available for wind power by the end of 2027 and then 1.8 percent by the end of 2032 are to be asked. If municipalities remain inactive and do not designate any priority areas, investors can place privileged systems where they can find a plot of land and comply with noise protection requirements, for example. The planning association wants to clarify the facts for priority areas by the middle of the year. Then it’s time to weigh things up, said RPV Managing Director Christian Breu on Tuesday at his last planning committee meeting; the 65-year-old is about to retire after almost 25 years in office. Breu left no doubt that he was leaving his successor with a difficult task.
There was talk of up to 400 wind turbines in the summer of 2022, when the RPV made an initial statement that shook up the population in the planning region, in which 2.9 million people live with the city of Munich and the eight surrounding districts. It is certain that there will be significantly fewer wind turbines in the end. Not every potentially possible area will be used. You need willing municipalities or private investors who invest, according to Schelle, head of the association, and property owners have to want that too. Breu sees problems in even reaching the 1.8 percent target. He was “not so optimistic,” he said. For example, large areas in the vicinity of Munich Airport are not usable, as is the state capital of Munich. “There are already 20 percent ruled out,” says Breu.
But conditions are also difficult in the districts of Freising, Erding, Ebersberg, Dachau, Fürstenfeldbruck, Starnberg, Landsberg and in the district of Munich. The region is densely populated. According to Breu, many “no-go areas” are out of the question for nature conservation reasons. In addition, as Thomas Bläser, regional representative for the Munich region in the government of Upper Bavaria, explained, there is a north-south gradient in wind prospects. According to the wind atlas, in the southern district of Ebersberg, in the Isar valley and in the area of Lake Starnberg and Lake Ammer, the 4.8 meters per second that are necessary for the economic operation of a wind turbine are not reached. Breu is counting on a balance being found throughout Bavaria between the regions that can identify more areas and others that cannot.
The more concrete the planning, the bigger the conflicts
The chairman of the association, Schelle, has also identified a problem that promises trouble. “The wind always blows the strongest at the border to the neighbor,” he said at the meeting. Schelle was alluding to the fact that areas are primarily designated on the outskirts of the communities. In view of this, he predicted that the conflicts would increase the more concrete the plans became. This can already be seen in the advisory board installed by the RPV, in which representatives from the federal government for nature conservation, the electricity industry, business associations and hunters sit. There were two meetings with “rather lively” discussions, said Breu. Above all, the distance between the wind turbines, including the rotor blades, is up to 260 meters high. According to Bläser, 800 meters to settlements and 500 meters outdoors are under discussion. Schelle expects conflicts especially in water protection areas. The need for regional energy production is increasingly being recognized by the population. “The energy crisis is not over.”
Even if the legal basis, an amended state plan, is not yet available, the planning association is pushing ahead with checking the reports from the town halls. According to Breu, planning for 1.1 percent of the area will be completed by mid-2025. As a result, further areas will be involved until the 1.8 percent mark is reached. As Managing Director from April, Marc Wißmann will be responsible for the process. The 53-year-old has been Breu’s deputy since 2010 and is considered to be well connected.