11 Mar 2022, 13:50
Benjamin Wehrmann

Next oversubscribed auction and energy independence push spur German wind industry

Clean Energy Wire

The second oversubscribed onshore wind power auction in a row in Germany has sparked optimism in an industry which suffered years of hampered growth that the renewed urgency to decarbonise the country’s energy system will lead to a lasting upswing for wind power companies. Companies submitted bids for over 1.35 megawatts (MW) for an auctioned volume of 1.32 MW, the country’s grid agency (BNetzA) said, adding that average support for new projects stood at 5.76 cents per kilowatt hour, slightly less than in the previous auction. Most successful bids came from bidders from the northern states of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein and from North Rhine-Wespthalia in the west. “The most important signal is that our industry is capable of delivering what is required and can make an essential contribution to energy supply security in Germany,” said Hermann Albers, head of wind industry association BWE. He said wind power companies are ready to implement a faster transition to renewable power sources but continue to face several regulatory hurdles. While some states have already initiated changes conducive to faster turbine construction, regulation at the federal level regarding spatial planning, licensing procedures and support allocation remain an obstacle to faster expansion.

The BWE welcomed plans by the government to fast-track the rollout of renewable power sources, which were already announced before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but were given further resolve by the war’s consequences for energy supply security in Europe. However, the wind power lobby group said the current planned expansion volumes were still too low, arguing that the country’s onshore wind power capacity could reach 200 gigawatts (GW) by 2040 instead of the 160 GW envisaged by the government, up from the about 56 GW currently installed. “Since Russia’s attack, we no longer only talk about reaching energy transition and climate targets,” Albers said. “This is about reducing import dependence and securing supply and affordable prices.” The government should quickly ensure so-called re-powering projects to replace older turbines and regulatory conflicts with the military and aviation authorities over minimum distances should be resolved quickly. “We must focus on short-term measures and the potential in our own country,” he argued.

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