11 Sep 2019, 13:55
Benjamin Wehrmann

German wind power industry warns of “precarious” situation at major industry fair

The German wind power industry has warned of the "precarious" situation of the country's dominant renewable power technology. As the industry gathered in the northern German town of Husum for one of the sector’s most important trade fairs, wind power association BWE said the latest onshore wind power auction, which again failed to attract enough bidders to award the full capacity on offer, had been "a further and abundantly clear warning signal to federal policymakers" that wind power expansion is at risk of falling far below the level necessary to fulfil Germany's 2030 climate targets. At the Husum wind energy fair, industry association BWE head Hermann Albers called on Germany's economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier to put promises made at a national wind power summit the week before into action. "We need an action plan to speed up licensing [of new onshore turbines] quickly," Albers said, adding that Germany's states should also contribute by officially designating two percent of their territory for turbine construction.

A broad alliance of industrial companies, including major associations like the Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) and industry association BDI, and environmental organisations are counting on Altmaier to deliver on his promise, Albers added. "It's clear that wind power provides the greatest chance to reach the goal of 65 percent [renewables in power consumption] by 2030.” Citing the BWE's Wind Industry Report 2020, Albers said Germany's domestic wind industry faced major hurdles at home at a time when wind energy was expanding around the world and the new EU Commission leader Ursula von der Leyen had announced her ambition for a "Green Deal" to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent.

Wind power is Germany's most important renewable energy source and at times already provides over one-third of all electricity in the country. However, expansion fell to the lowest level since 2000 in the first half of 2019, mainly due to the fact that the construction of more than 2,000 turbines has been put on hold due to licensing problems caused by lawsuits from citizens, environmental groups and aviation authorities.

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