The North Rhine-Westphalian state parliament has abolished the general 1000 meter minimum distance between wind turbines and housing estates with a large majority. This means that wind turbines will be allowed to move closer to residential buildings in the most populous federal state under strict conditions.

148 out of 170 MPs voted by roll call for the draft law of the government factions of the CDU and the Greens. The SPD, the largest opposition faction, also endorsed the draft law. FDP and AfD voted against it.

New impetus for wind power expansion

According to an overview by the Bundesverband Windenergie e.V. (BWE), NRW will be one of the few federal states, along with Saarland and Saxony-Anhalt, that no longer have general distance specifications. In almost all countries there are still distance specifications or recommendations from a few hundred to 1000 meters.

Due to strict regulations, for example on noise protection, wind turbines will generally be several hundred meters away from residential buildings in the future, according to the state association for renewable energies (LEE).

The abolition of the 1000 meter distance rule is intended to give a boost to the expansion of wind power in NRW. The rule has already been overturned when older wind turbines are renewed. In the CDU in particular, there were initially concerns about the abolition of the minimum distance. In the future, the expansion of wind power in NRW is to be controlled by regional area specifications.