28 Feb 2020, 13:45
Freja Eriksen

Offshore wind farms lose yield when too close, North Sea coordination needed – study

Clean Energy Wire

When offshore wind farms are located too close to each other, the amount of energy their turbines are able to generate falls considerably, shows a study commissioned by the think tank Agora Energiewende*. The think tank says countries on the North Sea should coordinate their development of offshore wind energy in order to maximise wind yield. Germany and its neighbours on the North Sea have plans to expand their offshore wind parks as the renewable energy source is expected to become a key part of Europe's path to climate-neutrality. Only in Germany, current scenarios envision 50 to 70 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity by 2050. Placing all of this capacity in the German Bight (Deutsche Bucht) could reduce productivity from around 4,000 full-load hours to between 3,000 and 3,300, say the researchers from the Technical University of Denmark and the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry.  

Environmental Action Germany, meanwhile, called on Germany to use its upcoming presidency of the EU Council and the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NESC) "to take the necessary measures to accelerate the expansion of offshore wind energy". The NGO called an expansion of 50 GW necessary for climate action. 

Germany has plans to expand offshore capacity to 20 GW by 2030, but this target has not yet been fixed in the Renewable Energy Act.  Currently, nearly 1,500 offshore turbines with an installed capacity of over 7.5 GW are connected to the German power grid. Generating over 25 terawatt-hours of electricity, offshore wind contributed about four percent to Germany's gross power consumption in 2019.

*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.

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