14 Sep 2021, 12:52
Kerstine Appunn

Space is getting scarce for shipping, offshore wind, nature protection in German seas

Die Welt

Shipping, fisheries, offshore wind power, raw material extraction and nature conservation all have been assigned their space in the German waters in the latest plan of the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH), but the many different future uses of the German Exclusive Economic Zone in the North and Baltic Seas are going to lead “tough distribution battles”, writes Olaf Preuß in Die Welt. The offshore wind industry is increasing the pressure, Preuß says. So far, some 7.7 gigawatt (GW) of offshore wind (1,500 turbines) are installed in the German Sea, by 2030 this is to grow to 20 GW and by 2040 to 40 GW. While these targets are part of the new spatial plan, the offshore industry is already announcing new wind parks that produce hydrogen at sea which is then transported ashore by pipelines or ships. Nico Nolte, of the BSH, said that - in addition to the spatial requirements of the wind power industry increasing in the coming years -  those of gravel and sand extraction in the sea would also raise as demand for construction materials grows. If climate change makes the North Sea becomes navigable all year round, shipping traffic could increase. BSH President Karin Kammann-Klippstein said that the further development of the spatial development plan depends, above all, on what the future federal government decides.

Offshore wind power is a key pillar of Germany’s emissions reduction plans and first zero support bids awarded greatly boosted investor interest in the technology. But concerns over the impact on marine ecosystems have been accompanying the technology's roll-out from the start, even though most environmental groups agree that offshore wind power is needed to meet international climate targets. The country is the world's second-largest offshore operator behind the United Kingdom but expansion has slowed down recently.

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