German transmission grid operator 50Hertz calls for more Baltic offshore wind power
German electricity transmission grid operator 50Hertz wants to see a more aggressive expansion of wind power in the Baltic Sea than currently envisaged, Klaus Stratmann writes in an article for Handelsblatt. Company CEO Stefan Kapferer said that the current plans, which stipulate a 300-megawatt (MW) expansion by 2030, fall short of their potential. "That would be a fatal signal for the energy transition and for climate protection throughout Europe," he is quoted as saying. He added that to achieve energy transition goals, all suitable areas on both the North Sea and Baltic Sea should be utilised. The former chief lobbyist of energy industry association BDEW said that he considered a “doubling to tripling of expansion capacity for wind energy to be realistic” and noted that Germany recently already doubled its target for generally expanding offshore wind power from 20 to 40 gigawatts by 2040. “This goal can only be achieved if an appropriate balance is found between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea,” Handelsblatt quotes him as saying. The current ratio is around 28 to 1, the report writes, which according to Kapferer does not do justice to the Baltic's wind power potential.
Concerns about the expansion of wind power have been commonplace in Germany, as expansion of country’s most important renewable energy sourcehas been severely depressed in recent years due to bureaucratic hurdles, combined with protests and lawsuits from local resident groups that particularly hampered onshore wind turbine construction. The German wind industry says that an annual expansion of 5,000 MW is needed to meet the government's 2030 target of sourcing 65 percent of power consumption from renewables. In July the country's wind power lobby group BWE also warned about an “expansion gap” in offshore wind, where the installation of new turbines has decreased considerably in 2020.