Shut down of last German wind turbine rotor plant could put renewables expansion in danger
Clean Energy Wire / NDR
The closure of Germany’s last wind turbine rotor production facility has led to concerns within the renewable power industry that the country risks losing its domestic manufacturing basis for achieving the planned build-out of non-fossil energy infrastructure. Wind turbine producer Nordex completed the plant’s shuttering in the northeastern coastal city of Rostock at the end of June, which according to public broadcaster NDR means about 600 employees are losing their jobs. The plant’s end comes just days before the federal parliament is to pass legislation aimed at speeding up the rollout of wind and solar power installations. Labour union IG Metall said the company’s decision to relocate production to India would not only mean Germany loses a valuable industry sector but make the manufacturing of low-carbon energy production installations less climate friendly as rotor blades would now have to be transported over thousands of kilometres for their use in the country. “This is a worrisome development for the supply chain of onshore wind power,” renewable power foundation Stiftung Offshore Windenergie said. “The demand for production capacity of rotor blades and other renewable power components will be rising enormously in the next years. Insolvencies and the relocating of production facilities are the result of political errors of the past that are now coming to haunt us,” foundation head Karina Würtz said. Cost pressure in the renewable power industry would currently force companies to find ways to stay competitive, Würtz said, arguing that a similar development should be avoided for offshore wind turbine production. “Germany otherwise is at risk of losing its autonomy in terms of achieving climate targets.”
Turbine producer Nordex announced the plant’s closure already in February, arguing that high wages and energy costs would force it to reconsider the location in response to increased international competition. “As a German and European-based company, we particularly regret that we do not see an alternative to this painful measure,” the company said at the time. Alongside Nordex, turbine producer Enercon has also reduced its production capacity in Germany and according to the Stiftung Offshore Windenergie, the possible insolvency of the MV Werften shipyard would mean Germany also loses its last production facility for “high quality” offshore converter stations.