25 Jun 2020, 13:28
Julian Wettengel

German auctions show investors keen on solar, but still shun wind power

Clean Energy Wire / pv magazine

Germany's latest renewable auctions have revealed that while investors are very keen to build solar power projects in the country, many are still reluctant to tackle wind turbines. In the solar power auction, investors offered to build arrays with a total capacity of almost 450 megawatts (MW), more than four times the 96 MW of volume on offer, grid agency BNetzA said. The average successful bid was 5.27 cents per kilowatt-hour (ct/kWh), a slight increase over the previous auction's 5.18 ct/kWh. In contrast, the wind auction was significantly undersubscribed: The agency tendered around 826 MW, but successful bids only totalled 464 MW, at an average price of 6.14 ct/KWh, also a slight increase over the previous 6.07 ct/kWh earlier this year.

The German engineering federation VDMA said the results underscored the fact that the German government needed to act quickly to boost the rollout of wind power. "The undersubscription confirms the urgent need for action to eliminate permit risks in order to make it more attractive to tackle new projects," said Matthias Zelinger, head of the VDMA's Power Systems division. "Despite the federal government's initial steps and announcements, it is important to implement a clear, consistent and ambitious energy transition policy," he added. Green party energy expert Julia Verlinden also said it was no surprise the wind power lull continued given the lack of government initiatives to improve the situation for new projects, according to pv magazine. She added that granting support to realise less than a quarter of tendered solar power projects was akin to an "investment ban", adding "this government is alienating everyone who wants to build a clean energy supply".

Germany’s governing parties last month ended months of wrangling over the future course of renewable energy expansion in the country by agreeing on minimum distance rules for wind power and abolishing a cap on solar power support. The agreement removes key hurdles to the renewables rollout seen as necessary in order to reach the country's climate targets. Germany aims to cover 65 percent of power consumption with renewables by 2030, but expansion of onshore wind power, the German energy transition's most important power generation technology, fell to the lowest level in 20 years in 2019, mainly due to regulatory hurdles and local opposition.

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