Anyone who wants to find out more about wind power in the Ebersberg district usually has one goal: the Osterkling wind turbine in Hamberg near Bruck. This project was realized many years in advance, and the rotors have been turning over the small forest in the south since 2016. The expansion of wind power has been very slow since then, although a few projects are planned, it will probably be a long time before the first turbines are actually up and running. Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) has now announced a massive expansion of wind power in Bavaria and a relaxation of restrictions. Of course, opinions differ on what this means for the district. “Every relaxation leads to an improvement and to the fact that there can be more locations. It would be much more advantageous if 10H were abolished completely,” says climate protection manager Lisa Rütgers.
But Söder and his CSU are not saying goodbye to the 10-H rule, which states that wind turbines must be at least ten times their height from inhabited areas. However, there should be more exceptions. According to this, a reduced minimum distance of 1000 meters will apply in future in certain areas – for example in forests, along motorways, four-lane federal roads or main railway lines as well as in designated priority areas for wind power. In any case, these are the plans communicated on Wednesday at the CSU parliamentary group meeting. They now have to be cast into law.
Christian Bauer (CSU), Mayor of Grafingen and district chairman of the municipal council, sees the changes as “very positive”, in particular due to the fact that more should be possible in state-owned forests in the future. He assumes that the changes will mean that the expansion of renewables in the district is now progressing more quickly – this is also urgently needed in view of the situation in the world with the climate crisis and the impending energy shortage. However, according to Bauer, a lot has already happened so far. The mayors in four different planning regions in the district are currently in constant dialogue to identify possible wind power locations.
Locations are also being sought in Grafing itself. And that turns out to be not so easy, even if you deviate from 10H, which is already possible for the municipalities in the course of their land use planning. But even areas at a distance of 750 to 1000 meters from residential buildings are difficult to find, says Bauer. In Zorneding, where people have been working for several years to promote wind power in the community, it looks similar, as Second Mayor Bianka Poschenrieder (SPD) explains. 10H is no longer the problem here, and the Zorneding Energy Forum has already done a great deal of preparatory work, and there are even company contacts. In principle, you could get started quickly – if only you could finally find the right plot of land. One is currently looking in the south of Zorneding, where there are a few narrow strips that could be considered. But the owners of the land over which the rotors rotate must also agree – and according to Poschenrieder, this is where the problem lies.
But even if Zorneding itself does not benefit from possible easing that is now being decided, the SPD politician still sees it rather positively. Above all, the fact that the state government wants to make it easier to build wind turbines in state-owned forests could mean that more turbines could be built in some areas of the district, according to Poschenrieder.
“In general, there are more possible locations for wind turbines if distance rules are relaxed. The current decision could therefore accommodate the expansion of wind power,” says climate protection manager Lisa Rütgers, who would of course advocate if there were no longer a blanket distance rule would exist. This is not necessary at all, she emphasizes: “In the course of the approval process, every project is checked in terms of immission control law: noise protection, shadows, infrasound, harassing effects, all of that is looked at. If there are problems in any area, the project will not be approved at all As a rule, one can assume that all requirements can be met from a distance of 500, but definitely 750 meters.”