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25 May 2022, 13:39
Sören Amelang

Offshore wind projects’ carbon footprint could determine winners in future German auctions

Tagesspiegel Background

Bidders offering to implement offshore wind power projects with the lowest CO2 footpring  could have an advantage in Germany’s future renewable power auctions that determine who gets to install new wind farms in the country’s territorial waters, Steven Hanke reports for energy policy newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. Due to rapidly dwindling costs for offshore wind power generation that saw many projects with zero-support bids emerge in recent years, regulators are looking for new ways to rank proposed projects in auctions. A proposal by Germany’s council of federal states (Bundesrat) said projects with the lowest projected emissions and general environmental impact, for example thanks to using local production facilities, could be ranked up in auctions. Industry alliance WAB said local producers could find themselves at an advantage if emissions resulting in the construction of turbines, groundings or substations are factored into the tender process, as long distances inflate transport emissions. An environmental component was also welcomed by the Offshore Wind Power Foundation, a cooperation between the states and the industry. “In the long run, it cannot be a solution to have our 17,000 tonnes converter platforms welded together in Indonesia,” foundation leader Karin Würtz told Tagesspiegel Background. Other factors influencing the auctions’ outcome could be expected power production, its potential contribution to system stability, and the readiness of bidders to pay a “concession fee” to get access to the offshore wind market.

Local supplier companies and other wind industry actors have long called for using the energy transition to strengthen industrial production at home and making supply chains more resilient. The German wind industry has gone through difficult times after 2017 and many production facilities in the country were shut down despite increasing political commitments to counter climate change with a rapid expansion of renewable power sources. While the latest push for greater energy independence is expected to boost renewables expansion, industry associations have warned that a shortage of skilled workers could hinder implementation.

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