Whether it's large-scale ground-mounted photovoltaic systems, biogas plants or wind turbines: the energy transition is in full swing in the district of kulmbach. There are glowing advocates, but also critics who denounce the use of land and the immense encroachment on the landscape. District administrator klaus peter sollner (freie wahler) notes that the district office can only examine the legal criteria for wind turbines, but cannot evaluate building applications on the basis of aesthetic considerations.
The following is the interview:
The district of kulmbach is preparing to become a pilot region for the energy transition. Make them proud?
Klaus peter sollner: unlike many others, we have been shaping the energy turnaround for more than a decade now. The district of kulmbach, for example, has drawn up a climate protection concept with high requirements, takes a leading position in cold and climate technology. We must not forget that we also helped to launch the northern bavaria energy agency, which, in cooperation with nurnberg, is now the largest municipal energy agency in bavaria.
Projects are also being launched in the flatlands. Photovoltaics and wind power are booming in many communities.
There is indeed a lot going on. A prime example for me is the presseck district of heinersreuth, which is preparing to become an energy self-sufficient village. It is a vision of the future that many villages will become self-sufficient. The best projects are those that are supported by a broad base, as in heinersreuth. It is a pity when there are disputes about projects and the peace of the village is disturbed.
But there are also critics who have their sights set on the uncontrolled growth of wind turbines. Do you understand their concerns??
There are glowing advocates of wind power, but also vehement opponents. It is almost impossible to bring them together. As a licensing authority, we must not play referee, but must orient ourselves to the legal requirements. I have always said that it makes sense to cluster wind turbines at windward locations in order to prevent the landscape from becoming overgrown with vegetation. The areas on which wind power could make a contribution to the energy turnaround are designated as priority areas in the regional plan. It is the plan that is also intended to prevent uncontrolled growth. However, wind turbines are not built on all flat areas that are priority areas.
You have explained that three or four wind turbines can be built where it makes sense to do so. Are ten wind turbines, as planned in the thurnauer oberland, or 16 wind turbines, which could be built on the A 70 near wonsees, still compatible with landscape protection??
Whether a wind turbine disturbs the landscape or not, each individual will judge differently. As a rule, no wind turbines will be installed in the landscape conservation area. The regional plan gives exact specifications. As a licensing authority, we will carefully examine every construction project to ensure that it complies with legal requirements, such as the distance between a wind turbine and residential areas, and the protection of nature and people. A larm and an ornithological report must also be submitted. However, wind turbines were allowed to be built where the list of criteria was observed. We could not prevent them at all, because in the constitutional state we were not allowed to evaluate them according to aesthetic aspects.
Many communities are promoting citizen wind turbines. Bury that?
Of the eight wind turbines in our country, six are burger wind turbines. We are of course pleased if as many wind turbines as possible are built that are supported by the citizens, from which the general public benefits. But that is only a wish. The district cannot exert any influence on this either.
Millions of projects are planned, but there is no precise information on the wind capacity of a region. The bavarian wind atlas only gives estimates. Proof of the wind farm's ability to operate economically, at least in the foreseeable future, was not required prior to the designation of priority areas?
It is the sole task of the project developer or operator, not the regional planning association or the district, to check the wind farm. Whether a wind turbine can be operated economically is not examined in the approval process either.
In local project groups, landowners negotiate the locations of the wind turbines and lease agreements with the project developers, usually in camera. Citizens who are not involved in the process and do not know whether three, seven or 15 wind turbines are planned for the priority area in their community do not feel properly informed. Commodity not more transparency desirable?
Transparency is always worth burying, but ownership is one of the highest legal values. We cannot dictate to a landowner how and what he does with his land if he complies with the law.