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24 Nov 2020, 13:21
Benjamin Wehrmann

Germany's onshore wind power potential greater than previously thought – study

Clean Energy Wire

Wind power production in Germany could be doubled by 2030 thanks to technological progress and greater capacity of each turbine at existing locations, wind energy lobby group BWE and regional renewable energy association LEE NRW have said. A study by Deutsche WindGuard commissioned by the two industry groups found that technological progress allows wind turbines to achieve more and more full load hours and greater capacity, meaning more power can be produced more consistently than previously thought. The output by turbines built on areas designated for wind power production so far could be increased by 100 percent by 2030 to reach 200 terawatt hours (TWh) over the next decade and even reach 500 TWh if new areas are opened for turbine construction, the study found. Germany's current power demand is 530 TWh per year but is set too increase in the future, the industry groups said. LEE NRW head Christian Mildenberger said modern wind turbines already produce ten times more electricity than those built in the year 2000. "The technology has made great strides in the past 20 years," Mildenberger said. BWE's Wolfram Axthelm said the study called for a review of so-called repowering measures, where older turbines are replaced by newer models at existing locations. "Today, less than one percent of Germany's surface is designated for onshore wind power. This already would allow us to cover nearly 40 percent of power demand by 2030. If the share grew to two percent, we could cover almost 100 percent," Axthelm argued.

A large part of Germany's existing wind power fleet will be replaced over the next years, as the first installations built under the country's Renewable Energy Act after 2000 will fall out of the 20-year guaranteed remuneration scheme. According to LEE NRW, technology improvements mean that Germany could reach up to 700 TWh wind power output per year by 2040 with the same number of turbines it boasts today, meaning that a combination of renewable power technologies could cover the country's entire power demand even if e-mobility, heat pumps and green hydrogen production mean that electricity use is going to increase.

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