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15 Sep 2020, 14:25
Kerstine Appunn

German wind industry hopeful amid expansion recovery but laments regional imbalance

Clean Energy Wire

Over 2,000 megawatts (MW) of onshore wind installations have received planning permission this year, German Wind Energy Association BWE has said, but only 8.6 percent of these will be built in  southern part of Germany, BWE president Hermann Albers said in a press release. Calling it a sign of hope for the wind industry that as of 10 September 2020 the number of new windmill permissions had exceeded those in 2019, Albers noted, however, that overall planning permissions were still well below the annual 4,700 MW necessary to reach Germany’s climate targets. A key concern has been that energy-hungry southern German states such as Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg might be left behind as the majority of new installations are planned in the North. “If the South continues in this way, the worst-case scenario could be regional bottlenecks in the power supply,” Albers said.

The expansion of onshore wind power – Germany's most important renewable energy source – has been severely depressed in recent years due to bureaucratic hurdles, plus protests and lawsuits by local resident groups. According to the German wind industry, an annual expansion level of 5,000 MW is needed to stay on track for the government's 2030 target of sourcing 65 percent of power consumption from renewables.

In July 2020 the BWE had also warned against an “expansion gap” in the offshore wind sector where the installation of new turbines has decreased considerably this year.

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