German wind power installations slightly up in early 2020 but still below required levels
Clean Energy Wire / dpa / Focus Online
The expansion of onshore wind power in Germany has moderately picked up again in the first quarter of 2020, figures compiled by industry expert group Fachagentur Windenergie and seen by Clean Energy Wire show. With 107 newly commissioned turbines with a combined capacity of 348 megawatts, the number of new turbines between January and the end of March was 2.5 times higher than during the same period last year, when only 41 turbines started operation. As many turbines were also taken offline during the first quarter, the net expansion was only 66 installations. Hermann Albers, head of the German Wind Energy Federation (BWE), told the news agency dpa in an article carried by Focus Online that the uptick in expansion still means no sign of relief for the industry, which has been grappling with falling commissioning numbers for about two years now. "We're still far away from what the industry is capable of," Albers said, adding that the risk of a "green power gap" remains as real as ever if the numbers don't go up significantly and in a sustained manner.
The year 2019 was the worst in terms of onshore wind power expansion since the introduction of Germany's Renewable Energy Act in 2000, mainly due to regulatory challenges. Onshore wind is seen as the country's most important renewable power source and the government's climate action plans to a large extent rest on a steady growth trajectory of the industry over the next decades. Despite the positive first quarter of 2020, the economic lockdown caused by the coronavirus will make a full recovery of the industry even more unlikely this year. But economists and energy experts have called for making renewable energy expansion a key measure for economic stimulus measures in response to the corona crisis.