Disruption in environmental management. Germany

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blue growth

To speed up the processing of authorizations, the proposed legislative framework will unify and simplify (with federal regulations), the criteria for studying the impact of turbines on local fauna

The need to replace energies derived from fossil fuels with renewable energies (EE RR), is undoubtedly an established need as a result of the accumulation of evidence of the impact of greenhouse gases (GHG), on the environment in general and on the impulse of the elevation of the global temperature of the planet. This need is generally accepted, although the magnitude and intensity of the responses are clearly variable between continents, countries, institutions, companies, social groups, etc.

The European Union has incorporated into its current strategy, the general drive and dynamism among its States to achieve global environmental objectives, assuming international leadership and contributing to the general progress that is essential for the effects to have the necessary and effective dimension.

This strategy defined and proposed at the beginning of the seven-year period of Community Government is prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Europe. Both crises have shown in different ways that the environmental strategy is the best tool (if not the only one) to overcome them and achieve climate and social objectives in Europe and internationally. The current reality adds a more demanding time requirement to advance (as much as possible), the reference deadlines 2030 and 2050.

The process is not easy, it is costly, both in terms of economic and political-administrative resources necessary to overcome social inertia, inevitable in major transformations. The response is taking various forms in each of the Member States and is one more example of the road that remains to be traveled in the European Union to achieve sufficiently efficient overall procedures.

In this direction, the Commission approved the REPowerEU Communication just a month ago, where it is stated: "that the granting of permits must be accelerated", affirming with total emphatic that: "the slowness and complexity of the permit granting processes They are a key obstacle to driving the renewable energy revolution.”

This generic situation can be specified in a list of specific cases, but with only two examples of the reality of the business group necessary for the development of these energies, it may be enough to have at least an approximation. Thus, the European employers in WindEurope, pointed out that all these circumstances (difficulties), have as a consequence in their field that in 2021 11 GW of new wind farms were built compared to the 32 GW per year necessary to reach the objective of 40% of EE RR in 2030. In Spain a few days ago, the employers' association pointed out that the suspension of the pending auctions of biomass, solar thermal, cogeneration and marine energies must be resolved.

In this case, within the blue energies, offshore wind power, when it is still being developed here (clearly outside the formal deadline set by the Commission), the planning of the marine space (prerequisite to start the administrative process), which will make possible the authorizations essential for the installation of the first wind farms in Spanish waters, Germany, last year approved the Offshore Wind Energy Law (WindSeeG), which aims to reach the installation of 20GW by 2030, which is surprising to say the least if compared to the Spanish objective of achieving 3 GW also by 2030.

This law was approved during the mandate of Angela Merkel, who with a more distant vision could be considered with less environmental commitment compared to the current Government, which happened to her since December 2021 and of which the German environmentalists are a part. However, this German Government, just 6 months after its constitution, has just presented two Bills that they hope to approve before the summer legislative recess with a decided boost to the development of wind farms.

Among other purposes of the two Bills, the press has highlighted (because of its radicalism and determination), a very specific objective: to make available between 1.8 and 2.2% of the national territory for the development of wind farms until 2032 , forcing the 16 German federal states to provide it. These projects will have a privileged status for their development, to the point that, if necessary, spaces with environmental protection in force can be used (with 'respect' for high ecological standards).

Likewise, to speed up the processing of authorizations, the proposed legislative framework will unify and simplify (with federal regulations), the criteria for studying the impact of turbines on local fauna. As a reference, it should be considered that: being Germany by far the European country with the highest installed wind power (according to 2021 data, 63.8 GW), it only uses 0.5% of the national territory for it. These Bills propose to quadruple the dedicated space to 2%.

As a reflection on the thread of this information, without the need to go into the details of the regulations or the German environmental reality, some considerations can be made that could be useful in general.

The Bills have been presented jointly by the minister of economy and energy Robert Habeck (the content of this ministry seems to be a good combination in the current circumstances) and the minister of the environment Steffi Lemke, obviously to show that the regulation is done taking into account jointly to the three aspects that are essential for the development of wind energy (economy, energy and environment) and the sole criteria of the Government.

The recent presentation, in less than 6 months since the constitution of the German Government and the conceptual scope that arises (which can be clearly observed only with the minimum details that have transpired in the press), is a response of the maximum scope to allow the development of wind energy of the German legislative framework as complex as that of the rest of the countries of the European Union.

On the other hand (although of a procedural nature), it is of the greatest importance that in this case the traditional order in Europe is changed by which, planning determines (after the necessary time), the percentage of the national territory (regional, local) dedicated to any activity, in this case wind power. The change that is made institutionalizes an inverse process, in which it is determined a priori (in the Law), the objective to which the country can and must commit, planning to achieve that goal (set with sufficient reflection), is achieved with the greatest possible environmental guarantees derived from consequent planning.

Conceptually, it is a change of enormous importance and can be considered as an 'administrative revolution', undoubtedly a consequence of the generalized evidence: The traditional methodology is not adequate to deal with the current social and environmental reality.

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