Germany and Denmark: Supporting Wind Power through Streamlined Permitting and CREZ

Over the last few decades, Germany and Denmark have made significant progress toward streamlined permitting for wind projects. In 1999, Denmark issued a wind power planning directive with regional planning guidelines that designated appropriate locations for wind energy development for regional and municipal authorities. Local governments planning wind energy development could then use the regional planning guidelines to inform development and permitting processes (Petterson and Söderholm 2011). Based on this and other advances, as of 2013, wind-permitting processes were significantly more expeditious in Denmark than they were in the European Union (taking approximately eight fewer months to receive a wind permit) (Danish Energy Agency 2014).

Germany revised its Building Code in 1996 to designate a special status for wind turbines. The special status allows non-urban wind turbines that do not infringe on the public interest to easily receive a construction permit. As with the CREZ approach noted above, and to support local authorities, the government has identified suitable areas for wind development to support private investment (Brunes and Ohlhorst 2011).