19 Aug 2022, 12:53
Benjamin Wehrmann

Co-use of sea areas could allow over 80 GW of offshore wind in Germany - industry

Clean Energy Wire

The available area for offshore wind turbines in German waters could be greatly expanded if compromises on co-use of spaces are made, offshore wind industry association BWO and energy industry group BDEW have said. The government aims to expand the country’s offshore wind capacity from currently just under 8 gigawatts (GW) to 70 GW by 2045 within Germany’s exclusive economic offshore zone. An analysis conducted by research institute Fraunhofer IWES has found that even more than 70 GW of offshore wind capacity can be installed in the German parts of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea if more efficient and innovative technologies are used, for example floating turbines. Up to 82 GW of offshore wind capacity would be possible without infringing on other uses of the sea areas, for example environmental reserve zones. “This makes clear that the expansion targets are realistic and can be implemented,” BDEW and BWO said. Talks with other user groups of German offshore zones, namely fishermen, environmental protection groups and the military, have shown that there is generally great acceptance of offshore wind and understanding that the technology is needed for successful climate action. However, BDEW head Kerstin Andreae said “more installed capacity does not automatically mean more energy production,” meaning the goal should also be to increase output per square kilometre, which can be done by modernising existing turbines.

Offshore wind power capacity is expected to grow rapidly in Germany in the next years, but expansion came to a standstill in 2021. Environmental groups have warned that a massive buildout of offshore wind in the North Sea, both in Germany and in practically all other countries in the region, will put sensitive ecosystems in the already highly industrialised North Sea under even more pressure.

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