Resistance in the population
According to his own statements, the minister is also reacting to persistent resistance from the population to the construction of new and larger wind turbines. In the past, large energy companies that are not based in the state have often invested in wind farms in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and have also benefited financially from them.
“But we want the people here in the country to also derive direct benefits from the wind turbines,” said Backhaus, but left it open in what form this would take place.
Involvement of residents
Long approval procedures and legal changes by the federal government meant that the Citizens’ Participation Act passed by the State Parliament in 2016 has not yet had the hoped-for effect. Accordingly, private investors must give the local authorities and their residents opportunities to participate.
Backhaus expects legislative reforms from the new federal government that accelerate planning processes and give the expansion of renewable energies significantly more momentum. “We have to prepare for this and develop the location,” said the minister.
Financing through green electricity
For financing, he also wants to fall back on reserves in his ministry, which are intended for later investments in the environmental sector and are to be refinanced through the sale of green electricity. “The return is significantly higher than the interest at the bank,” said Backhaus.
He hopes the project will send a signal. “We have to make it clear that the age of fossil fuels is over and we are moving into an age of environmentally friendly energy generation with new added value and new perspectives. We want to be part of this,” emphasized Backhaus. So far, the country has operated two wind turbines via the land company. More should follow.
Seven new plants
The regional association for renewable energy had demanded a clear commitment to more wind and solar power and clear targets from the red-red coalition in Schwerin. In contrast to the traffic light coalition at the federal level, the SPD and the Left in the northeast had not anchored in the coalition agreement that two percent of the state’s area should be used for wind farms.
The use of wind power in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania only increased marginally in the first half of 2021. According to the Federal Wind Energy Association, only seven new plants with a total output of 28 MW were built in the first six months of the previous year. Nationwide there were around 1970 wind turbines with a total output of 3573 MW – compared to the neighboring states of Schleswig-Holstein and Brandenburg that is around half. (dpa / jk)