It seems some Germans are concerned that thousands of new windmills and “high-voltage power masts” to replace nuclear power might be a blight on the countryside. Der Spiegel:
The German government plans to replace nuclear reactors with thousands of wind turbines and thousands of kilometers of high-voltage “monster masts” in a move that will deface vast swathes of territory. Germans, though desperate to phase out atomic energy, are gearing up to protest against the green revolution.
Germany regards nuclear power as unacceptably risky and has embarked on a plan to phase it out as soon as possible. The U-turn on nuclear policy Chancellor Angela Merkel announced last month following the Fukushima accident will involve a massive expansion of renewable energies — as rapidly as possible.
She is giving the public what it wants. But the shift will nevertheless provoke a major backlash. Germans may love their green energy, but that also have a growing proclivity towards not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) lawsuits and referenda.
The trigger is likely to be a master energy plan the federal government is currently hammering out following the closure of seven older nuclear power plants in the wake of Fukushima. Environment Minister Röttgen and German Economics Minister Rainer Brüderle of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) have already presented “six points for an accelerated energy turnaround.” It provides a foretaste of the conflict Germany is steering towards.
Wind Turbines über Alles
To reach its goals of a nuclear-free Germany, Merkel’s government now plans to dot all parts of the country with massive wind turbines as well as high-voltage power masts needed to create a modern smart grid to transport the electricity supply from the windy north to the southern part of the country. A €5-billion ($7.25 billion) special program to expand wind parks in the North and Baltic seas will be launched this autumn. Central to the program, Brüderle and Röttgen write, would be a “joint initiative by the federal government and the regional states to identify suitable locations for wind power facilities.” Obstacles to planning approval such as restrictions on the height and spacing of the turbines “will be removed,” the paper says.
The message is that Merkel’s government won’t tolerate opposition to its plans. Officials in Brüderle’s ministry are drafting legislation to speed up the expansion of the renewable energy network. The paper states that the switch to renewables “won’t come free of charge.”
Wow. Ugly and it will cost consumers more. The rest here.