Germany plans to grant more space to offshore wind in North and Baltic Sea
A new draft plan for offshore wind power expansion by the German government has allocated additional spaces for renewable power generation in the Baltic and North Sea, reports climate and energy Newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. The plans, which were presented by the interior ministry, identify parts of the Dogger Bank, a transnational sandbank in the middle of the North Sea, as an additional priority area for wind power development. Environmental groups have said the area must remain free of use. But the draft states that the Dogger Bank is well suited for wind energy and should provide an additional potential of four to six gigawatts of installed capacity, if this is possible in a nature-compatible way.
Further wind power areas are to be developed by allowing co-use. For example, it should be possible to fish passively in the outer areas of wind farms, i.e. with fish traps and baskets. But active fishing with nets is also being examined, according to the draft. The shipping industry will probably also have to cede areas. One area each in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea will be redesignated as a priority area for wind energy from 2030, unless the Federal Ministry of Transport can prove by the end of 2025 that these areas are needed for shipping for compelling reasons.
Reliable winds at sea have shown offshore turbines could make a significant contribution to reaching Germany's climate targets. The technology was the last of several renewable power technologies rolled out at a large scale in Germany's energy transition, but has grown at a fast pace thanks to price drops and technological advancements that have made offshore wind increasingly attractive. German wind farms in the North Sea produced more electricity last year than ever before. In 2020, the amount produced rose by 12.4 percent to 22.76 terawatt hours (TWh) compared to 2019, according to the grid operator TenneT. An additional 4.13 TWh was produced by windfarms in the Baltic Sea, an amount that remains virtually unchanged compared to 2019. But the German offshore wind industry is bracing for difficult times ahead as no new constructions are planned this year and the timing of new projects remains unclear.