Changes to the WindSeeG

Federal Council approves the law passed by the Federal Parliament

On 27 November 2020, the Federal Council (Bundesrat) approved the law on amendments to the WindSeeG in particular, which was passed by the Federal Parliament (Bundestag) on 5 November 2020. It will now be forwarded to the Federal President for signature. The amendments will enter into force on the day after their promulgation.

Details of the amendments to the WindSeeG

In particular the following aspects are now regulated:

  • The expansion targets (Ausbauziele) were finally raised from 20 GW by 2030 and to 40 GW by 2040.
  • In the event of several zero-cent bids, the lot will be decisive. Fortunately, the second bidding component previously provided for in the June 2020 draft legislation has been deleted. However, the introduction of contracts for differences, which many had demanded, could not (yet) be implemented. In 2022 the German Government will examine whether there is a need to adapt the law, taking into account any experience gained from other tender models in European countries.
  • The amendments also aim to speed up planning and approval procedures for wind farms and grid connections, in particular by streamlining administrative and judicial procedures. The Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht), for example, is now the first and last instance of appeal against the planning approval of offshore grid connections and related decisions.
  • In addition, legal certainty is created for projects in the sense that neither the amendment nor the new issuance of a planning approval or permit for an offshore wind farm will have any impact on the award under the WindSeeG. The award will remain effective and its scope will not change even in the event of a new permit.
  • The Act is also intended to implement the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) of 20 June 2020. It contains a provision which allows certain projectsfrom clusters 9 to 13 to apply for the assumption of costs for investigations already carried out. Only project owners whose planning approval procedures or permitting procedures have been terminated in accordance with Sec. 46 WindSeeG or whose permits granted in accordance with the Offshore Installations Ordinance have been rendered ineffective by the WindSeeG are entitled to claim. The basic prerequisite for the claim for reimbursement is that the results and documents can be used for the preliminary investigation of the area to be put out to tender. Corresponding applications are to be submitted to the BSH by 30 June 2021. Together with the application, the investigation results and documents are to be submitted.

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