Greens in Berlin dream of wind turbines on skyscrapers - and in the Grunewald

Serious plans with a lot of potential for conflict or a political trick in times of climate change? The announcement by Berlin’s Senator for Climate Protection, Bettina Jarasch (Greens), that she would look for potential for new wind turbines in the city’s forests and protected landscape areas, if necessary, continues to cause excitement. Environmental groups are skeptical, a partner from the red-green-red coalition sees this as a distraction from their own failure.

On Tuesday, Jarasch reported on the first meeting of the new Senate Committee on Climate Protection. This is intended to show what Berlin has to do in order to actually be able to call itself a “climate-neutral” city in 2040. The ambitious steps have been taken: The climate-damaging CO2 emissions in Berlin are to be reduced by at least 70 percent by 2030, by at least 90 percent by 2040 and by at least 95 percent by 2045 at the latest compared to 1990.

The way to get there is complicated. However, it is clear that much more CO2 needs to be saved, especially in the large areas of living and transport. This includes the energetic refurbishment of buildings and the conversion of the vehicle fleet to electric drives.

Above all, the conversion in the transport sector – according to Jarasch the only one in which CO2 emissions have actually increased recently – has long been a source of controversy. Also in the Berlin Senate. While the Greens want to massively curtail private transport in the city center, the SPD in particular is more on the brakes and insists on alternatives such as a massive expansion of buses and, above all, trains.

With her push for wind energy, Senator Jarasch is now directing the public to a new area of ​​conflict: energy production. In fact, wind power is not only widespread in Berlin. This is also due to the distance rules to residential buildings, which the federal states have so far been allowed to set themselves. The 10H rule is well known in Bavaria, for example: the height of the wind turbine times ten – this is how far away it must be from residential buildings. For a 200 meter high system, that is 2000 meters.

Federal Economics and Climate Protection Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) wants a massive expansion of wind power throughout the country as a contribution to the energy transition. Obstacles and obstacles should be removed. Two percent of the entire state area should be able to be used for wind power, but only Habeck’s home state of Schleswig-Holstein has already reached this value. All others are below. In order to change this, the countries should no longer be allowed to set their own minimum distances. But that creates trouble locally, where people complain about noise, shadows and dead birds being killed by the rotors.

Under this pressure, the red-black-green coalition in Brandenburg recently agreed on a 1000-meter distance rule after a long struggle. It should come as long as such a state rule is still possible.

Berlin has six wind turbines. All are on the outskirts of Pankow

In Berlin, the land use plan has not yet identified any areas for wind power. In fact, this energy source has so far hardly been a factor in the city. Only six wind turbines produce electricity here. They are all in Pankow, one location is right on the Berliner Ring, another north-east of Malchow on the B2.

Senator Jarasch now said she wanted to find out where more wind turbines could be built in the city. Of course, she knows that the neighboring state of Brandenburg has much greater potential than densely populated Berlin. And a lot more wind power from Brandenburg will be needed in the future, says Jarasch. But in order to find more open ears there, you also have to explore your own options. And that also includes examining whether, in addition to areas in commercial areas, on power plant sites or on motorways, areas in forests and nature reserves are also suitable. “I expressly do not rule that out,” said Jarasch, adding that she knew that there would be “conflicting goals”.

So wind turbines in the Grunewald, on the Tempelhofer Feld, on the former Johannisthal airfield? You have to know that every wind turbine is a major intervention, not only because of its rotor, but also because of its concrete foundations, which weigh several tons, and its asphalted access roads and power lines.

The AfD has already announced that it wants to “protect nature from self-appointed climate protectors”. Several laws would have to be changed.

A taboo called Tempelhofer Feld

Forests should definitely be taboo, says Tilmann Heuser – the same applies to the Tempelhofer Feld with Berlin’s largest population of skylarks. Nevertheless, it is right to “check all viable potentials,” says the managing director of the environmental organization BUND. But you always have to look at the effects of each individual wind turbine.

Even wind power is not “clean per se”

The German Nature Conservation Union sees it very similarly. It is also said that wind power is not clean per se. In the event that locations in the forest are seriously examined, complaints are already being announced.

In an interview with the Berliner Zeitung, Jarasch’s spokesman Jan Thomsen tries to tone down the discussion: “Berlin has many areas that seem to have potential. Now it’s about analyzing sensibly and not just making assertions,” he says. But: “That does not mean any concrete actions.”

This certainly also applies to an aspect that has played a rather marginal role so far, but was addressed by Jarasch: She wanted to find out whether the construction of wind turbines on roofs might not be approvable, said the senator.

She was alluding to a project by the municipal housing association Howoge, which wants to build a new residential building on Frankfurter Allee. Four wind turbines with a height of up to 25 meters are planned on the roof at a height of 64 meters. According to the Howoge planners, 80 to 100 residential units could be supplied all year round with the electricity produced in this way.

But the responsible building authority in Lichtenberg has not yet approved the installation. Among other things, soundproofing and shadows are opposed.

In all debates about the expansion of wind power, Bettina Jarasch and with her the entire Senate know that the potential for solar energy is much greater in large cities. It is not for nothing that the Climate and Energy Transition Act was leveled out in the last election period.

A solar obligation is introduced for public buildings. Accordingly, by the end of 2024, all “suitable roof surfaces” must be used to generate renewable energies. This should reduce energy consumption. There are only exceptions for buildings on which solar systems are statically not possible.

For private buildings, the solar energy law, which was also passed last year – against some protests from property owners’ associations – provides for a solar obligation. This applies from January 1, 2023 for new buildings and existing buildings, provided that “significant roof modifications” are made during renovation, as it is called.

“The great quantum leap is only possible in terms of solar energy”

So the rules are there, and yet many in the city feel like things aren’t going fast enough, that time is running out.

This also includes Nina Lerch, as an SPD deputy in the House of Representatives, an ally with the Greens around Senator Jarasch. “We don’t see wind power as the near future for Berlin’s energy production,” said the climate policy spokeswoman for her parliamentary group when asked by the Berliner Zeitung. “The big quantum leap is only possible when it comes to solar energy,” says the politician, who was elected to the Berlin House of Representatives for the first time last fall.

This potential must be used much more and much faster. For example, by advertising a lot more to private homeowners. For this it is necessary to promote the expansion of solar systems on or on houses, according to Lerch. And addressed directly to Jarasch: “That’s the homework before I look for other construction sites.”

“Berlin has fewer and fewer open spaces, but still roofs and more”

Economics and Energy Senator Stephan Schwarz also sets clear priorities. “Berlin has fewer and fewer open spaces, but still roofs,” says the non-party politician, who was appointed to the Senate by the SPD. The Senate has taken up the cause of using these areas to generate solar energy. “We want to cover at least 25 percent of Berlin’s energy requirements with solar power, and we see a strong development here,” says Schwarz.

But even in a city-state, wind power can also play a role, albeit a comparatively small one, according to the senator. And so it has long been decided that Berlin’s wind potential will be systematically examined under the leadership of the economic administration.

In addition, the topic of green hydrogen is rapidly gaining in importance in the region. “Ultimately,” says Schwarz, “we need a mosaic of different measures to make Berlin climate-neutral and more independent in terms of energy supply and also to support the transformation of our economy.”

#Greens #Berlin #dream #wind #turbines #skyscrapers #Grunewald

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