Hush Money: Government Plans to Bribe German Families Complaining About Wind Turbine Noise to Quell Wind Farm Backlash

The wind industry in Germany is in freefall: in 2019 less than 200 turbines were erected onshore and a trifling 160 are planned for 2020, so far. Over the last two decades, heavily subsidised wind power outfits managed to spear almost 30,000 of these things across rural Germany.

Driven mad by practically incessant, turbine generated low-frequency noise and infra-sound, wind farm neighbours got organised, and fought back. There are now hundreds of anti-wind industry groups across Germany.

In addition, many groups and individuals have launched litigation against developers and government to either prevent wind farms from being built, or to seek substantial financial compensation for the loss of the use and enjoyment of their homes.

A full-scale revolt by rural folk sick and tired of being forced to live with these things is one of the reasons for the rapid and staggering collapse in new wind farm construction in Germany.

The other is that subsidies have been slashed, wrecking the business model of wind turbine and solar panel manufacturers (as well as the parasites that feed on those subsidies). Tens of thousands of their workers have been sacked and numerous operators have filed for bankruptcy: Wind Power Investment Collapses as Germany’s Wind Industry Faces Total Armageddon

Of course, the rent seekers and the politicians who run with them are apoplectic, operating with a mix of confusion, fear, anxiety and anger.

With more than just a little arrogance and quite a deal of condescension, Germany’s green-left politicians have devised a ‘cunning plan’ which, they seem to think, might placate their rural cousins: bribing them with buckets of taxpayer’s cash to suck it up and – if they refuse to take one for the ‘glory’ of the German wind industry – to force families to shut up about their daily torment and misery. For older Germans, all of this may sound frighteningly familiar…

German government may offer ‘silence money’ for living near windmills
Deutsche Welle
Ben Knight
3 January 2020

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) has proposed a new answer to people complaining about wind farms in Germany: offering money to those willing to live near them.

“Those people who accept windmills in their neighborhood, and so make the expansion of renewable energy possible, should be rewarded,” SPD environment spokesman Matthias Miersch told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper.

The cash could be handed to local community authorities, with the stipulation that it be spent on direct benefits to citizens, though Miersch is also prepared to offer “direct financial incentives for people who live in those regions.”

Wind farms are vital to the German government’s energy plans, with both a transition away from coal and nuclear power currently being undertaken, though too slowly for the demands of environmentalists in the face of the ongoing climate crisis.

Delayed wind
Despite this, local newspaper reports in Germany are filled with reports of people unhappy with having wind farms on their doorsteps, with complaints about noise “like a helicopter” (as one family told the Waldeckische Landeszeitung), and subsequent legal battles slowing down construction.

On the other hand, the Baden-Württemberg newspaper Leonberger Kreiszeitung reported on Wedndesday that the village of Weissach is seeking to turn a profit from its local wind farm by investing €435,000 ($487,000).

The center-left SPD, as junior coalition partner to Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is concerned that further delays to the construction of new windmills will make its country’s targets impossible to reach. Germany’s official target is to draw 65% of its electricity from renewables by 2030.

But the rate of wind farm construction has slowed down, with only 160 new windmills planned until November this year: the lowest number for 20 years. “We cannot allow ourselves the long-winded planning processes we have now if we want to manage this enormous transformation,” said Miersch.

Money for silence
Local governments aren’t necessarily impressed with the idea. Uwe Brandl, president of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, practically dismissed the payments as hush money during a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

“What we’re noticing now is more in the direction of paying people to keep quiet,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the right direction. If we start paying for people to keep quiet, then it’ll start with windmills and will go on with roads and other infrastructure measures.”

“I think the government would be well-advised to sensitize people to the fact that they’re part of this game, part of this society, and change is only possible if everyone is ready to participate in it,” he added.

The idea of paying people living near wind farms has been implemented elsewhere. As the taz newspaper reported, two German states have also offered compensation to communities living near windmills, either in the form of shares in the company, or in the case of Brandenburg, €10,000 per windmill to all communities within three kilometers (1.86 miles).

Meanwhile, the debate is threatening to open up a new flashpoint in Merkel’s coalition government. In response to the ongoing court cases, the government recently introduced a measure stipulating that wind farms had to be built at least 1,000 meters from residential estates. These were defined as five or more homes – a stipulation that Miersch and the SPD would like to lift. The Green party, meanwhile, considers the restriction as unacceptable.
Deutsche Welle

7 thoughts on “Hush Money: Government Plans to Bribe German Families Complaining About Wind Turbine Noise to Quell Wind Farm Backlash

  1. The GREEN, Anton Horfreiter, want to reduce the Distance to housings at 400m.

    But he is living in a better sub at Berlin.
    Best regards for the new year

  2. Follow the money… Why are there folks in the government so ridiculously motivated to push this failed policy?

    Has anyone investigated the flow of money from GazProm and Nordstream into either government coffers or German NGOs and/or wind promoters who might be laundering the money and then using it for political action?

    It worked on Gerhard Schroeder. I suspect it is still at work, otherwise we wouldn’t see so much force being applied against the laws of physics and good sense.

    When a politician’s actions look stupid, follow the money. They look stupid, because their actions seem opposed to their stated (or your assumed) goals. When that happens, it is often the case that they are doing a perfect job of pursuing their real goals and you simply don’t realize what their true goals are.

  3. Thank you STT for publishing this! This is what happened in rural Ontario. People who realized the dissonance that the wind company’s money would create in the minds of those who desperately needed the money, called it ‘bribe’ money. This devious tactic is understood by some. Those receiving the money because turbines were so close to their homes, who believed that no one would be harmed, resented hearing the term ‘bribe’.
    When the turbines are turned off because of the people being harmed by acoustic trespassing emissions, the money issue will have to be sorted out very carefully. This is also why we’ll need a ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ approach at a community level, to heal the relationships that have been so severely strained.

  4. It is well past time to turn off Turbines due to known and documented health harm. Please ask anyone who denies health harm of Industrial Wind Turbines to watch this presentation. University of Waterloo, Waterloo Ontario Canada.

    Title: “Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise: Physics & Cells, History & Health”
    Speaker: Dr Mariana Alves-Pereira
    Location: University of Waterloo
    Date: September 12, 2019

    Video archive of presentation:

    Dr. Alves-Pereira’s research profile is at

    Note; there is approx 2 mins of dead air at the beginning. The talk is ~50 minutes, followed by a long Q&A

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s