Despite their surging popularity in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, the Greens did badly in the Oct. 27 election in the German state of Thuringia, and the nationalists from the Alternative for Germany Party (AfD) did very well. An important reason is that the Greens support wind energy and the AfD militates against wind turbines. The giant windmills have grown so unpopular in neighboring communities that their construction in Germany has all but ground to a halt.
There are nearly 30,000 wind turbines in Germany, more than anywhere else in Europe. Only China and the United States, both much bigger countries, have more. Germany gets 23.5 percent of its energy from wind this year; it's the biggest source of renewable energy for the country. But in the first half of 2019, only 35 wind turbines were added — an 82 percent drop compared with the first six months of 2018. Last year was bad, too: Just 743 turbines were added, compared with 1,792 in 2017.
This is happening because it's getting harder to get permission to erect the turbine towers. Local regulations are getting stricter. Bavaria decided back in 2014 that the distance between a wind turbine and the nearest housing must be 10 times the height of the mast, which, given the density of dwellings, makes it hard to find a spot anywhere. Wind energy development is practically stalled in the state now. Brandenburg, the state surrounding Berlin, passed a law this year demanding that wind-farm operators pay €10,000 (¥1.2 million) per turbine each year to communities within 3 km of the windmills.