23 May 2023, 14:00
Benjamin Wehrmann

Germany can double onshore wind power capacity buildout in 2023 – economy minister

Clean Energy Wire

The buildout of onshore wind power in Germany can be doubled in 2023 with respect to the previous year and set the country on track towards its ambitious renewable power goals, economy and climate action minister Robert Habeck said at the second "wind power summit" this year. “We regard a doubling to 4 gigawatts (GW) possible for this year,” the Green Party minister said, arguing that the already successfully auctioned volumes suggested that the doubling of capacity expansion is within reach. Habeck said the goal of building 10 GW per year to reach the country’s 2030 renewable power target appeared to be achievable if current trends persist and all parties involved pull together. Detailed debates about licensing and turbine transport were central issues at the summit between policymakers and energy industry representatives, who came together with the aim of quickly removing obstacles to a fast roll-out of the country’s most important renewable power source. One goal would be to equip authorities with clear guidelines on the interpretation of laws and harmonised procedures. Moreover, alternative forms of transport for bulky turbine components should be strengthened, particularly on inland waterways.

Armin Willingmann, energy minsiter of Saxony-Anhalt, said there is great support among the population for a faster roll-out and great expectations among industrial companies in his state to receive more renewable power. At the same time, the wind power industry itself should be strengthened and more jobs in turbine production created locally, he urged. Kerstin Andreae, head of energy industry association BDEW, said the current expansion speed of about 10 new turbines per week gives reason for optimism but is still below the 30 new weekly installations needed to achieve the target. “We see the will to speed things up in the economy ministry,” Andreae said, but cautioned that the same spirit had to apply in all local authorities across the country, where staff shortages often cause difficulties for administrations to handle applications swiftly. At the same time, grid expansion ought to be treated with the same urgency as the renewables buildout, she added.

After the first wind power summit in March, Habeck had said that Germany’s states had understood the importance of renewable energy for the future of their local industries and were gearing up for a fast expansion of onshore wind installations. Germany aims to meet 80 percent of its electricity demand from renewable sources by 2030. To get there, 57 gigawatts (GW) of new onshore wind turbines, 22 GW offshore turbines and 150 GW of photovoltaic capacity must be built.

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