In North Rhine-Westphalia, a decree relaxing restrictions on the installation of wind turbines in forests and facilitating biogas and solar energy expansion was approved.
Wind energy can now be deployed throughout the state on coniferous forests and forest areas that have been degraded by storms or tree diseases under the new legislation. However, sparsely wooded areas, nature conservation areas, deciduous and mixed deciduous forests are not included in this category.
By 2032, North Rhine-Westphalia will be able to generate wind energy on 1.8% of its territory under the new rules.
Additionally, the decision is in line with a November ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court, which is expected to encourage wind energy development in Germany. Thuringia’s law prohibiting the installation of wind turbines in all forest areas violates the constitution, according to the court.
In addition to wind energy, the new decree makes more areas along federal roads and national rail routes in connection with existing farm buildings or agricultural buildings available for ground-mounted solar plants. Through agrivoltaic projects, agricultural land can also be used to generate electricity.
As a result of the new legislation, existing biogas plants will also be able to expand spatially.
With the decree, the state supports the expansion of renewable energy in North Rhine-Westphalia and makes progress on the way to a climate-neutral future, the state’s energy minister Mona Neubaur commented. Through wind and solar energy, the state will become more independent of fossil energy imports while increasing the resilience of the energy supply with renewable energy, Neubaur said.
In June 2022, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s largest state, had 6.95 GW of installed solar capacity, of which 6.43 GW was rooftop and facade installations. It also had 6.67 GW of wind parks.