German government looking to boost offshore wind sector
The German government is examining how it can support the domestic offshore wind sector, which is suffering from a slowdown in activity, Steven Hanke writes in Tagesspiegel Background, citing a discussion paper from the economic affairs and energy ministry. Measures on how to maintain value added and employment in the industry will be discussed at a roundtable meeting in August between government officials and industry representatives. The slowdown in the sector is expected to last for a few years. It won’t be until 2023 at the earliest that wind farms will be built in the North and Baltic Seas with a combined capacity of 3 gigawatts – projects that were awarded contracts in state tenders in 2017 and 2018. The construction freeze has resulted from government decisions that significantly reduced offshore wind targets and reorganised the allocation of marine areas, Hanke writes. Offshore wind sector companies, which employ a combined workforce of 24,400 people, have been struggling to survive until the market again picks up, he writes.
The economic affairs ministry’s proposals include the establishment of a competence centre focussing on offshore wind energy, which would be financed through the Structural Development Act for coal-mining regions as part of the country’s coal exit plan. The centre could focus on new technological developments, such as hydrogen generation from offshore wind power, Hanke adds. The establishment of a training cluster in a coal region to secure well-trained, highly qualified specialists is also possible. The ministry is also considering helping small and medium-sized enterprises in particular to enter foreign markets, where considerable growth is expected in the coming years both in Europe and worldwide. In addition, the Bundestag is expected to soon pass several measures and amendments that would provide more marine area for wind farms and allow existing wind farms that are not financed through the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) to be connected to the grid, such as the 900 megawatt Gennaker farm in the Baltic Sea.