05 Dec 2023, 13:25
Edgar Meza

Offshore wind industry says auctions should help fund expansion of Germany's port capacity

Handelsblatt / Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s Federal Association of Offshore Wind Energy (BWO) is calling for greater capacity for the country’s ports in order to expand turbine installations at sea. Offshore wind power is “the backbone of the energy transition” and could also become its economic engine, the association argues in a statement addressing the national port strategy, currently under discussion between the transport and economy ministries. Production capacities and ports have not yet been designed to meet the government's energy policy goals, the BWO added, noting that the current strategy draft points in the right direction but lacks concrete financial aspects. “The port infrastructure in Germany needs investments in the multi-digit million range. The offshore wind energy industry would like to support this financing as part of the bidding component - without putting a strain on the federal budget,” it states. The BWO is calling for income from future offshore wind auctions to expand German ports to meet those needs.

While the transport ministry has pledged to strengthen the competitiveness of Germany’s ports and expand them into “sustainable hubs for the energy transition,” the government has yet to resolve funding challenges that have been exacerbated by the country’s current budget crisis. Some 400 million euros a year are needed for port infrastructure, newpspaer Handelsblatt reported. The BWO plan would use revenue from wind auctions rather than from the state budget to finance necessary expansions. Infrastructure expansion could also include energy islands that would provide ports with renewable energy generation and storage capacity. Much of the auction revenues are already earmarked for other uses, including reduction of power grid fees and marine conservation. The BWO plan would therefore require a change in the law.

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