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Global Economy

Industry demands even more speed

With a capacity of two gigawatts, it will be one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world: Last year, the energy supplier RWE and the BASF Group jointly announced that they would build a wind farm in the North Sea in order to provide the Ludwigshafen chemical site with green electricity from 2030 onwards to supply electricity. A company spokesman told the ARD capital studio about the plans: "The need for renewable electricity at competitive prices will increase sharply at BASF from 2030. We are therefore willing to invest in our own capacities, but the approval processes are taking too long."

Tens of thousands of permits required

The concern is that the green electricity will not be available in time. Because first the areas have to be advertised. Then the wind turbines have to be built before lines can be laid that will bring the electricity onshore and then from the coast to the south. And for all this, various permits must be obtained.

The project and the challenges faced by BASF and RWE are examples of the conversion measures that are now to be pushed nationwide in order to make the production of energy-intensive industries such as steel, chemicals and cement climate-neutral. The Federation of German Industries (BDI) expects the approval procedures for wind turbines and industrial plants to double over the next eight years as industry transitions to climate neutrality. Specifically, that would mean 20,000 permits by 2030.

"Political Tunnel Vision"

Holger Loesch from the BDI sounds the alarm: "The industry is concerned that the political tunnel vision of the expansion of renewable energies and power grids will shake the ambitious schedule for the energy transition." Loesch calls for a much simpler and faster planning and approval process.

The federal government had also agreed in the coalition agreement that the duration of the procedure should be at least halved. That is by no means sufficient, but the industry thinks so. The duration of the procedure must be reduced by at least 75 percent in order to ensure the necessary investments and to achieve the climate goals in good time, according to a seven-point plan by the BDI, which is available exclusively to the ARD capital city studio.

Minister is working on climate protection packages

The association also calls for a deadline for industrial infrastructure projects in order to speed up the approval process. This is intended to limit the time-consuming subsequent submission of documents up to a deadline. In addition, the BDI demands that the approval authority only have one month to check whether the submitted documents are complete. In order to create more speed within the administration, the approval of the specialist authorities should be considered granted after one month.

A provision for the early start of construction is also a requirement of the seven-point plan. The current requirements are too vague, which is why many companies do not take advantage of the early start of construction.

With this initiative, the industry wants to play an active part in the current planning and considerations of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Economics and Climate Minister Habeck announced in January that he wanted to ignite a "renewable energy turbo". Climate protection packages are currently being developed in the ministry, which are to be launched in an Easter package with immediate measures and in a summer package that goes on.

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