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25 Feb 2022, 13:20
Sören Amelang

German ports unprepared for offshore ramp-up – business associations

Clean Energy Wire

Germany's sea ports are not sufficiently prepared for the upcoming expansion of offshore wind energy, the association of small and medium sized enterprises (BVMW) and the wind power industry association WAB have warned. "The decisive hub for sustainability in offshore wind development and the associated employment and value creation are port locations that are capable of handling heavy loads," the associations said. "These must be upgraded and be able to use the necessary financing options. The supply chain, which is mostly based on small and medium-sized enterprises, will only be able to benefit from the maritime energy transition if it can establish itself in coastal locations." WAB director Heike Winkler said the infrastructure needed for the planned offshore wind expansion goes far beyond power lines and hydrogen-capable pipelines. "Port and shipyard locations take on strategic importance in order to combine climate protection with value creation and employment."

Only about ten percent of the offshore wind capacity needed by 2045 has been built in German waters, the associations say. "From now on, the yearly expansion rate until 2045 must top the previous record year of 2015. Today's industrial capacities are not sufficient for this." In its coalition treaty, the government parties said they want to expand offshore wind power capacity to 30 gigawatts (GW) by 2035, 40 GW by 2035, and 70 GW by 2045.

As of January 2022, there were about 1,500 turbines with a capacity of nearly 7.8 GW in operation in German waters in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. According to grid operator TenneT, offshore wind provided nearly 20 percent of total wind power production in the country last year. Despite Germany only having a comparatively small area available for offshore wind, the technology is seen as a key ingredient to the country’s energy transition plans thanks to support-free projects and very reliable power production.

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