Berlin – 160 meters to the rotor hub, almost 230 meters to the tip and barely more than 200 meters to the city limits. The sixth wind turbine in Berlin is actually located on the very edge of the city. It rises above the B2 between Wartenberg and Blankenburg in the north of Pankow. So far that one would have to look up from the viewing platform of the television tower to the rotor tips. So high that there is an elevator inside the tower for the service technicians.
If the thing is connected to the grid, it will deliver 13,000 megawatt hours of green electricity a year. Enough to supply more than 4,000 three-person households with it. “We have thus increased the total output of wind energy in Berlin by 30 percent,” says Christan Rickerst, State Secretary in the Berlin Senate Economic Administration. “I’m happy.”
Bremen and Hamburg also have more wind turbines
With the 30 percent more, Berlin now has a total wind power output of more than 16 megawatts. But that’s not a lot. Nationwide, there are currently 56,000 megawatts, thanks to the large territorial states. But Bremen (198 megawatts) and Hamburg (128) are also better.
In fact, it took a full 13 years to build the six wind turbines in the city. And the sixth wheel is also proof that the administration slowed down more than funded it. Because after a preliminary contract for the location of the plant was signed in the city district in April 2015, a man named Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, who was then the state secretary responsible for housing construction in the Berlin Senate Department, took the project. Two years later it was reactivated by the Senator for Urban Development, Katrin Lompscher, and in the meantime blocked again by Daldrup’s successor, Regula Lüscher. Approval was only granted in July of last year. After that it went very quickly. The bottom line, however, was that it took six years, which corresponds to the complained average value for the wind turbine permit in Germany. So Berlin is not a bit better.
Berlin is to become climate neutral by 2045
The city has big plans for this. Renewable energies are to be expanded and Berlin is to become climate neutral by 2045 at the latest. For this to happen, however, electricity generation will also have to change, which is not insignificant in Berlin. About a third of the electricity consumed in Berlin is actually produced here as well. There are more than 1000 small to large power plants in this city. But the share of renewable energies in local electricity generation is low. If 44 percent of the electricity generated nationwide is generated from wind, sun or biogas, in 2018 it was just 5.3 percent in Berlin, according to the State Statistical Office. According to estimates, the proportion could now be just under nine percent. That is still not much.
After all, the Klingenberg power plant in Rummelsburg has not been converting lignite into electricity since 2017, but rather natural gas. The last batch of hard coal should also be burned in the Vattenfall power plants in Reuter, Reuter West and Moabit by 2030 at the latest. For more green electricity, however, the country is primarily relying on the expansion of solar energy on public and private roofs. By 2050 at the latest, a quarter of the electricity generated in Berlin should come from solar panels on the roofs of the capital.
When it comes to wind energy, however, there is less specific focus on energy management. Due to its peculiarity as a city-state as well as its specific settlement and open space structure, the state of Berlin does not make any specific land designations, as can be found in the senate administration of the city in which it was legally forbidden to build a wind turbine until 2003. “Every wind turbine therefore needs to be examined on a case-by-case basis, in which all issues have to be weighed against one another.”
The Müggelberge would be ideal for wind turbines
When asked how many wind turbines would still be possible in the city, State Secretary Christian Rickert did not want to commit. Klaus Mindrup, Pankower wind turbine activist and SPD member of the Bundestag, immediately thinks of Tegel: “I don’t understand how Berlin can declare a climate emergency and not build wind turbines next to the new industrial area on the former airport,” he says. He could imagine three wheels there. “Four,” says Jens-Holger Kirchner on the other hand. And the former State Secretary in the Senate Environmental Administration and current Commissioner for Infrastructure in the Berlin Senate Chancellery does not see the end of this as yet. He sees possible locations in industrial and commercial areas as well as in the city’s forests. Kirchner estimates that 40 wind turbines would be possible in Berlin. “I think the Müggelberge is ideal.”