The wind project in Solothurn was ready. However, the process took a long time and was overtaken by technology.
If you want to build a wind farm in Switzerland, you need patience. While the approval and construction of wind turbines in Germany often takes only a few years, implementation of a wind farm project in Switzerland can take up to 20 years, SRF reported. Waiting for all procedures and approvals is now fatal for the Solothurn wind farm project.
After waiting for the court’s decision, the planned wind turbines are already outdated and no longer available. The project needs modification. There is currently a request for a test facility on the Scheltenpass in Aedermannsdorf (SO) municipality. The mast for wind measurements is only planned for one year. The test facility is to measure how strong it is again during passage.
Planned wind turbines no longer exist
In fact, these wind measurements were made on the Solothurn Scheltenpass a long time ago. However, they are necessary again. Not because the wind force has changed, but because the planned wind turbines are no longer being made in the meantime. The manufacturer produces new wind turbines, which are much quieter and more efficient. So the wind force must be measured again on behalf of the manufacturer.
The reason for the long waiting period is not only the length of the approval process and the speed of the technology, but also several years of court proceedings. The initiators of the Scheltenpass project have accepted years of court proceedings. They were waiting for a federal court decision on the Grenchenberg wind farm in Solothurn, which took some time: There had been a dispute over the Grenchenberg wind farm for about ten years. The ruling of the Federal Supreme Court followed in 2021.
After all, the initiators were able to learn some things from the Federal Supreme Court ruling, especially regarding a protected bird species, the peregrine falcon, in the Jura. In the Grenchenberg case, the Federal Supreme Court ruled that only four wind turbines could be used instead of six because the wind turbine would be too close to the breeding grounds of peregrine falcons. According to the highest court, a distance of one kilometer is required for the nest. That’s why the wind project has been modified on the Scheltenpass. The initiators believed the wait was worth it.
Construction start 2026 or earlier
Initiators also do not find the approval process to be lengthy. On demand they are said to be satisfied with the pace of administration and politics. The procedures were carried out efficiently. From now on things can go quickly. 2024 is the preliminary examination project for the canton of Solothurn, from 2026 it can be built as soon as possible.
That is if politicians do not speed up the process in the near future. If the National Assembly’s Environment Committee has its way, new wind farms will have to go through shorter approval procedures in the future. But nothing has been decided yet.
wind draft resistance
Not everyone welcomes the Scheltenpass wind farm. There is an association that fights this: the Thaler Landschaft Association without wind turbines (TLoW).
Assembly members are alarmed by the fact that the Cantonese structure plan stipulates wind farms as “large systems” on the Jura Heights. Large systems are inappropriate here: “Our landscapes in the Jura mean the high quality of life in our canton. Do we really want to gamble recklessly with this trump card?”
In addition, the association has concerns regarding nature and wildlife, the protection of Jura in place and the lines that will be necessary to feed electricity into the grid.
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