Protecting species in Bavaria: How lawsuits delay wind power expansion

Protecting species in Bavaria: How lawsuits delay wind power expansion

Status: 08/14/2022 5:25 PM

In the search for alternatives to Russian gas, there is a demand for renewable energies like never before. But the obstacles are still great. In Bavaria, new wind turbine projects often face complaints.

Andreas Herschmann stands high on the only wind turbine for the energy cooperative of the citizens of Pfaffenhofen. Hirschmann and his comrades want to make the town of Upper Bavaria energy self-sufficient as quickly as possible. By the end of the year, three more wind turbines are supposed to be operating alongside the first, but now several lawsuits from the Nature Conservancy are delaying the project.

Association for Landscape Conservation and Species Protection in Bavaria e. V., is abbreviated to VLAB. The association, based in the Upper Palatinate, has about 8,000 members and is litigating in Pfaffenhofen, Upper Bavaria, against the construction of the wind turbines itself, against works to clear construction roads and freeze construction.

VLAB cites, for example, exposing sandy birds and lizards for arguments. According to the Citizens Energy Cooperative in Pfaffenhofen, the planned wind farm does not endanger the animals. On the contrary: Citizens Energy Cooperative does a great deal to protect the environment and the animals. Her attorney Misha Klewar points out the nesting sites of birds and bats and a long, protective fence for sand lizards.

Herrschmann wants to make Pfaffenhofen energy self-sufficient.

Photo: Melina Geer

“Keep Away from the Wind Turbine”

Attorney Klewar has been supporting wind turbine projects in Bavaria for many years. Counsel expressly welcomes the right of conservation societies to take collective action to advance the rule of law. VLAB also has this right to sue as an association against the projects. The association was recognized as a conservation society in 2015 during Horst Seehofer’s term as Prime Minister of Bavaria. Since 2019, VLAB also has the right to take collective action nationwide.

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However, Klewar notes that large conservation organizations such as Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) are “very keen on their right to collective action”. Usually the lawyer comes to an agreement with them out of court, but not with the VLAB – in the case of the wind farm in Pfaffenhofen, for example, they also argue about the location of the nesting place for a pair of owls, although “it has been shown that this nesting place is far enough away.” About the project site. The VLAB Club is not about finding a reasonable solution here for the eagle owl, sand lizard, or other animals. They are about recruiting from wind turbines.”

Lawsuits against more than twenty factories

The VLAB association is currently fighting at least two dozen wind turbines in Bavaria, including two large wind farms in Franconia. the cost of these procedures. subordinate BR I asked VLAB who exactly will pay the legal costs and what is the motivation for VLAB taking action against wind turbines across the country. After all, the association has only a few thousand members and by no means local associations everywhere; For example, VLAB does not have an official representation in Pfaffenhofen. In response to the written request, VLAB refers only to the Association’s website by e-mail.

There you can read that the association is “against the excesses of energy transmission”. VLAB explains here: “The construction of more wind turbines and large PV open space systems in cultural and forest landscapes should be discontinued for the time being.” Wind turbines could “kill large numbers of birds, bats, and insects, and disturb the local climate.”

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District official talks about a “precautionary measure”

The director of the Pfaffenhofen district, Albert Gurtner, considers the arguments for environmental and species protection made by the VLAB to be false. All VLAB lawsuits against Pfaffenhoven’s wind turbines end in his power, because the Free State of Bavaria, represented by the district office, complains. The authority was briefed on the wind farm project of the Citizens Energy Cooperative and issued all permits. District Director Gürtner describes the legal steps taken by VLAB as “a purely preventive activity by an association that wants to prevent the energy transition.”

In a few weeks, the administrative court in Munich will decide. Andreas Hirschmann, head of the Citizens Energy Cooperative in Pfaffenhofen, believes the outcome will be positive. “However, we are optimistic that by the end of 23 of the plants will be operational and thus help Pfaffenhofen achieve energy sovereignty.” He hopes that VLAB will only delay the wind farm in Pfaffenhofen, not prevent it.

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