CORRECTION - Carmaker Daimler to enlist wind farms set to lose Germany's renewable support
German carmaker Daimler is signing agreements with wind farm operators whose subsidies will soon be expiring as it seeks to secure renewable energy sources for its plan to supply its plants to a large extent with green electricity from 2022, Michael Bauchmüller writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. The plan is based on power purchase agreements (PPAs), which are widely used internationally, particularly in the US, but much less so in Germany. As part of the agreement, an industrial company secures the entire electricity production of a wind farm through a third party. If the wind farm generates surpluses, they will be sold elsewhere. “The bottom line is a full supply of green electricity,” Bauchmüller writes. Sascha Schröder, who oversees PPAs for Norwegian energy company Statkraft, states: “The market has not been there for a long time,” stressing that most operators had the security of Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG) to fall back on. Schröder oversaw a recent deal that secured wind power for Daimler from a community wind farm in the town of Bassum in Lower Saxony that is set to lose state subsidies at the end of 2020. The deal with Daimler is therefore seen as a new, non-subsidised lease on life.
The EEG, which went into effect in 2000, guarantees wind park operators subsidies for exactly 20 years. Hundreds of wind farms are now facing the end of state support. According to Berlin-based wind power association Fachagentur Windenergie an Land, in the first year alone the end of subsidies will effect wind farms with a combined capacity of at least 3.7 gigawatts (GW). By 2025, that figure will rise to 15 GW as more wind farm operators lose green energy subsidies – more than a quarter of the total installed onshore wind capacity. Agreements between companies and wind farms could ensure the survival for many, especially in view of the fact that most wind turbines are still usable after 20 years of operation.