27 Mar 2020, 13:44
Benjamin Wehrmann

German wind industry says corona must not overshadow need for action as auction once again falls short

Clean Energy Wire

The current difficulties caused by the coronavirus outbreak must not be allowed to obscure the fact that Germany's wind power industry faces much deeper challenges that long predate the health crisis, industry association BWE has said. It stated that the latest onshore wind power auction in Germany once again had too few bidders, with only 151 megawatts (MW) awarded out of the 300 MW available. The average bid required government support of 6.07 cents per kilowatt hour. Due to the corona crisis, the results were communicated by the network agency BNetzA to the bidders individually, which allows for the suspension of certain deadlines that apply once the results are publicly available. "The corona crisis must not overshadow the political gridlock the industry has been facing for a long time," BWE head Hermann Albers said. He argued that the expansion slump in onshore wind power has preoccupied the industry since 2018 and a comprehensive attempt at a solution was already proposed last October. "The economy ministry's list of tasks is gathering dust. And the list of problems keeps getting longer," Albers said. The BWE head said the removal of bureaucratic hurdles by the BNetzA earlier this week showed that quick responses are possible and can help to stabilise local economies during the crisis: "Our industry doesn't need money to get going again, but merely administrative support."

In 2019, the expansion of onshore wind power fell to its lowest level in 20 years, mainly due to projects being held up by licensing troubles and lawsuits from local interest groups. Wind power has become one of Germany's main sources of power generation, but continued expansion is needed to achieve the country's climate targets and advance its energy transition. A summit bringing together Germany's 16 states and the federal government in mid-March was supposed to address the situation, but the coronavirus outbreak reshuffled policymakers' agendas and caused the negotiations to end without any decision.

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