From Maik Brückner
The greater Dresden region should get more wind turbines. This was agreed by a majority of the members of the Upper Elbe Valley/Eastern Ore Mountains Association Assembly at their meeting in Pirna on Wednesday afternoon. Accordingly, a plan is to be launched, in which the areas for this are described.
After the decision, the team of the Regional Planning Association together with the counties of SOE and Meißen and the State capital Dresden begin with the development of the plan. This should be available by the end of 2027.
District Administrator Michael Geisler (CDU), who is also chairman of the planning association, explained at the beginning of the debate that the priority areas designated so far would be adhered to. But these are not sufficient to meet the requirements of the federal and state governments. The region would have to increase the area on which the plants could be built more than tenfold. Previously, 600 hectares were sufficient; in the future, it will be 6,900 hectares. In terms of the total area, wind turbines are to be allowed to be built on two percent of the area of the two districts and Dresden.
Forests and Dresden are no longer taboo
In order to make these sites available, the federal government and the Free State have changed some laws. For example, the federal government has made it possible for wind turbines to be erected in landscape conservation areas. It remains to be seen to what extent the Free State will react to this opening, he said. "That will be exciting," Geisler said. Forests are also no longer off-limits. "That brings new challenges for us." As a result, new areas are being added. Geisler explained that efforts will be made to designate areas not only in the two counties - as before - but also in Dresden. Because the impression should not be created that one of the three regions is preferred.
As in the past, citizens and associations will be involved in this process right from the start. Where desired and required, there will be information events, Geisler announced. In addition, citizens will be expressly encouraged to submit comments by telephone or verbally to the offices.
The employees working there are required to keep a record of this. This is the planning association's response to the ruling of the Saxon Higher Administrative Court Bautzen mid-May. This had declared the wind energy part of the regional plan invalid because the planning association had not explicitly pointed out that it was possible to submit "comments for the record". This is how the process is described in officialese. For the office, this form of opinion submission can become a challenge, Geisler says. After all, he says, every opinion must be evaluated. That is difficult with statements that are thin on content, he says.
Wind turbines in the future also in the landscape conservation area
For Heidemarie Russig, executive director of the planning association, it is already becoming apparent that areas for wind turbines will also be designated in landscape conservation areas. "There is no other way we will achieve the two percent target." Therefore one will concern oneself intensively with these areas - in addition one will also fall back to experts. The minimum distance to residential areas will also have to be dealt with intensively.
In the end, she asked the association councils to approve the procedure. Only in this way could the association control the areas on which wind turbines are erected. The planning association would strive for a fair balance of interests, she announced. However, it will not be possible to please everyone.
Preventing the landscape from being covered in greenery
If an agreement can be reached on the required two percent of the area, the turbines can only be built there. "This will prevent the landscape from being covered in greenery," Geisler added. If there is no plan, investors could also apply for construction on other areas. If nothing stands in the way there, the building authority has to approve it, Geisler warned. Because wind turbines are then considered privileged like radio masts or agricultural buildings.
In addition to wind energy, the planning association also wants to designate areas for solar plants and energy lines. However, these sites are not included in the two-percent rule, Russig said.
The association councils reacted differently to the papers presented. There was criticism from individual councillors. This included Lothar Mende (AfD) from Dorfhain. In his view, a disproportionate amount of land was being made available for "unreliable energy production". He said he wanted to prevent wind turbines from being built in the Tharandt Forest at all costs.
But supporters also spoke out. These included Dresden's environmental mayor Eva Jähnigen (Green Party), who represented Lord Mayor Dirk Hilbert (FDP). She explained that Dresden also wanted to do its part and provide land for wind turbines. "However, the potential is not too big."
Torsten Schreckenbach (Citizens for Klingenberg), mayor of Klingenberg, also promoted the resolution in order to be able to control the erection of the turbines himself as a region and thus prevent the landscape from being covered in greenery. In the end, ten councillors voted in favor of creating new areas for Wind energy to designate, three councilors voted against.