29 Jan 2024, 13:44
Benjamin Wehrmann

Lack of grid capacity lets output of Germany’s North Sea offshore wind turbines drop in 2023

Clean Energy Wire

Grid congestion due to a lack of new onshore power line connections has let the output of Germany’s offshore wind turbine fleet in the North Sea decrease by 9 percent in 2023 compared to the previous year, grid operator TenneT has said. With a total output of 19.2 terawatt hours (TWh), the country’s offshore turbines contributed the equivalent of the annual power consumption of six million households to the German power mix last year, helping to push the share of renewables to over 50 percent throughout a whole year for the first time ever. However, turbines in the German North Sea produced 21.1 TWh of electricity in 2022. TenneT CEO Tim Meyerjürgens commented that grid expansion has finally started to accelerate in the past two years, but “many lost years” prior to that are now having an impact on production, as electricity has to be curtailed when there is not enough transmission capacity available in the grid. Another reason for the curtailing of offshore wind would be that there are almost no large central power plants operating in northern Germany anymore that could throttle down their output instead, Meyerjürgens added. “As a consequence, the associated re-dispatch measures cut offshore wind power production.”

The expansion of Germany’s power grid to accommodate the rapidly growing number of renewable power installations has been plagued by delays and quarrels in recent years, although the government was able to overcome key hurdles to expansion in the past year. Besides bringing electricity transmission capacity to scale, the government is looking into other measures to ensure that renewable power is being used instead of curtailed.

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