German wind permits rise in Q1 as concerns about auction design grow
Clean Energy Wire
Germany saw the highest number of new wind energy capacity permits in the first quarter since 2016, the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) reported. Some 1,160 megawatts (MW) of new wind energy capacity was approved between January and April. In March alone, nearly 800 MW of onshore wind energy were approved. This means that at least 1,160 MW would now be available for the coming tender on May 1, in addition to bids and volumes that had been previously registered and approved but have not participated in past tenders, the BWE notes. The association warns, however, that provisions in Germany’s 2021 Renewable Energy Act (EEG 2021) could severely limit the expansion of wind power – seen as the cornerstone of the country’s energy transition. “We are very concerned about the reduction mechanism for tendering volumes that was hastily and without discussion incorporated into the EEG 2021,” said BWE President Hermann Albers. “The combination of rapid cuts and years of delaying the catch-up of quantities that have not been tendered creates widespread uncertainty and can now actually curtail the expansion of the mass carrier of the energy transition. Overall, the upswing is just around the corner.” Albers added that the Federal Network Agency, the regulatory authority that oversees wind energy tenders, “must not slam this door now”.
The BWE also stressed that the continued lack of subsidy approval for projects was causing growing problems. “The industry is feeling increasingly abandoned by the federal government,” the BWE stated. “Overall, the numbers of permits show that the wind industry is gradually finding its way back to a positive expansion path,” Albers added, noting that the tentative increase in permits and tender volumes from 2020 would continue in 2021. “The additional allowance is not yet stable enough. Further positive support is required to continue on the path.”