Onshore wind energy

The onshore wind energy has developed rapidly over the past 20 years. Whereas the first small wind turbines generated an output of just a few 100 kilowatts each, today's plants are up to 200 meters high, producing multiple megawatts. As many of the sites in Northern and Eastern Germany with good wind conditions have been analyzed, mapped and used for the construction of wind mills , inland sites with worse wind conditions as well as woodland are increasingly used for the wind energy production.

Impacts on nature and landscape

Besides its central role for climate protection, onshore wind energy also has negative impacts on nature and landscape. That is why it is highly controversial. Rare and endangered species such as the red kite and the Bechstein's bat are colliding at the rotors or driving out of their habitats. Wind farms at unfavourable locations may become obstacles for some bird species on their migration routes. An expansion of wind energy in woodland areas leads to a further fragmentation through the roads needed for transport and maintenance.

Solutions

Since the choice of sites is essential for the environmental compatibility of wind turbines that are built, suitable areas for wind farms should be identified and indicated during the regional planning process. Instead of allowing a proliferation of wind farms all over the countryside, it is important to concentrate new, additional plants in just a few areas with a low environmental potential of conflicts. Moreover, old wind mills should be replaced by more powerful and efficient plants. This process is called repowering, providing more capacities for renewable energy production using less space, while keeping valuable nature conservation areas free of wind turbines in the future.