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24 Mar 2020, 14:34
Benjamin Wehrmann

German wind power industry welcomes deadline extensions as corona impact sets in

Clean Energy Wire

An extension to wind farm implementation deadlines has been welcomed by Germany's wind power industry as the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak begins to disrupt supply chains and delay construction across Europe. The "pragmatic" approach by Germany's grid agency BNetzA to extend deadlines that are a prerequisite for support payments under the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) shows that policymakers can quickly respond to obvious challenges, says Hermann Albers, head of wind power association BWE. Otherwise healthy international supply chains are currently on hold, and industry production stops and transport difficulties will impede timely construction of many projects, Albers says. He argues that the national wind power industry proved itself to be an anchor of stability in the aftermath of the 2009 financial crisis thanks to strong ties to local economies and its central position in the European industry. "We can and want to achieve this again," he concludes.

Slow completion of accepted wind power projects has become a major problem for the German energy transition's most important renewable energy source. A switch from guaranteed support payments to auctions that reward bidders requiring the lowest level of feed-in tariffs in 2017 preceded a steep drop in expansion levels that poses great challenges for companies to stay afloat. Apart from lawsuits and local resistance groups, excessive bureaucracy and restrictive regulation are seen as the greatest obstacles for the wind power sector's recovery.  

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