14 Jan 2022, 14:00
Benjamin Wehrmann

New German government must prepare offshore wind boom after expansion halt in 2021 – industry

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s offshore wind industry is placing great hope on the new government’s ambitious renewables expansion plans, after no turbines were added to German waters throughout the whole of 2021. “As expected, there have been no additions in 2021,” industry association BWO said at its annual stocktaking, blaming the expansion hiatus on “ill-conceived political framework conditions.” In order to avoid further delays in the build-out of the renewable power source at sea, it urged the new government to quickly implement its promise of giving decarbonisation and renewables expansion a decisive push. “The commitment by the new government to a quicker expansion of offshore wind power is the right thing to do, just like the target of having a capacity of 30 gigawatts (GW) by 2030,” the association said. The government should also work on spatial planning and grid connections to lay the ground for more offshore turbines and “tap into acceleration potentials” to avoid a cumulation of construction towards the end of the decade. Volumes auctioned in tenders should be increased and every adequate offshore area made available for power production, both in German waters and in the economic zones of neighbouring countries in joint projects. “In case of conflicting interests for spatial use, the goal should be a pragmatic and climate-friendly solution, not least in the interest of environmental protection,” the BWO said. Moreover, the government ought to quickly clarify what the goal of 10 GW of electrolyser capacity for green hydrogen production means in terms of additional offshore wind capacity.

As of January 2022, there were about 1,500 turbines with a capacity of nearly 7.8 GW in operation in German waters in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. According to grid operator TenneT, offshore wind provided nearly 20 percent of total wind power production in the country last year, slightly more than in 2020. Despite Germany only having a comparatively small area available for offshore wind, the technology is seen as a key ingredient to the country’s energy transition plans thanks to support-free projects and very reliable power production abilities.

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