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17 Jul 2020, 13:28
Benjamin Wehrmann

Onshore wind power expansion in Germany slowly picking up again

dpa / Süddeutsche Zeitung

The number of newly installed wind power turbines in Germany doubled in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period last year, yet overall remained one of the lowest levels in the past 15 years. In an article by news agency dpa, carried by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, onshore wind agency Fachagentur Wind an Land said that 186 new turbines with a total capacity of 587 megawatts (MW) entered into operation in the country between January and June, while only 81 turbines were added during the first six months of 2019. In addition, the number of newly licensed projects increased significantly compared to the year before, yet was still about 60 percent lower than in the strong expansion years of 2014 to 2016. The agency added that a trend towards the decommissioning of old installations could not yet be observed, but warned this may change next year when the first wind turbines fall out of the guaranteed remuneration scheme for renewables after 20 years of operation.

At the same time, Germany added 32 offshore turbines with a combined capacity of 219 MW, the German Wind Industry Federation (BWE) said, calling the figure a clear indication that the country has entered an "expansion gap" of offshore wind which the BWE has long warned against. The lobby group explained that the recently increased expansion target of 20 gigawatts by 2030 will at least provide the industry with some planning security. "The challenge now is to keep this gap as small as possible," the BWE said.

The expansion of onshore wind power – Germany's most important renewable energy source – has been severely depressed in recent years due to bureaucratic hurdles, plus protests and lawsuits by local resident groups. According to the German wind industry, an annual expansion level of 5,000 MW is needed to stay on track for the government's 2030 target of sourcing 65 percent of power consumption from renewables. The economy ministry has said it will table a reform of Germany's renewable energy act (EEG) in autumn, which is meant to fast-track wind power expansion and better include residents financially in wind power projects in their neighbourhood.

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