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Germany

Germany

TEN FOLD INCREASE IN WIND

Electricity from wind in Germany is predicted to increase more than tenfold between 1993 and 2020. In the same period renewables are expected to expand their contribution to generation from 4.5% to 7.5%. Their share in primary energy consumption will rise to 3.6% in 2020 compared with 2.3% today. Hydro power will continue to dominate the renewables, but its significance will fade in favour of wind and waste. These developments are forecast by economic institute Prognos. While renewables push up their output, primary energy consumption will stagnate. Gross electricity consumption is forecast to creep up.

Electricity generation from wind energy in Germany is predicted to increase more than tenfold between 1993 and 2020, from 0.7 TWh to 7.5 TWh. In the same period renewables as a whole are expected to expand their contribution to electricity generation from 4.5% or 24 TWh, to 7.5% or 45 TWh in 2020. Their share in primary energy consumption will rise to 3.6% in 2020 compared with 2.3% today. Hydro power will continue to dominate the renewables, but its significance will fade considerably in favour of wind energy and waste combustion.

These modest developments are forecast for renewable energies in Germany over the next 25 years by economic research institute Prognos, in Basle, in its latest annual study for the Federal Economy Ministry.

Despite the small percentage figures forecast for 2020, Prognos says: "The contribution of renewable energies to the supply of electricity and heat in Germany will, in future, show significant growth." But it also puts its finger on a crucial problem: "Many renewable energies are not economic within the current market framework and with the moderate development of energy prices; their technical potential will by no means be exhausted."

Of comfort to wind operators, Prognos predicts that the favourable framework provided by the Electricity Feed Law will be maintained. And should it "lose its validity," another comparable support mechanism is expected to be introduced.

While renewables push up their output, primary energy consumption in Germany will stagnate at about the current level (485 million tonnes of hard coal equivalent in 1995). Interestingly, the institute also points out that growth in energy consumption is these days parting ways with growth in GDP, which is continuing at a faster rate. No longer, it seems, does increasing prosperity mean increasing use of energy (see figure 2 in main article).

Gross electricity consumption is forecast to creep up by an average 0.7% annually. As gross generation in Germany is expected to rise even more slowly at only 0.6% a year, Prognos apparently expects German imports of electricity to increase. Yet a faster expansion of wind energy would not only do away, or at least reduce, the necessity of importing electricity, but would also help the government achieve its aim of reducing CO2 emissions by 25% by the year 2005 compared with the 1990 figure. Prognos predicts Germany will fail miserably to achieve this aim: by 2005, C02 emissions will have fallen by just 10.5% compared with 1990.

The 650 page study is titled: "The German energy markets within a uniting Europe -- perspectives to the year 2020." It is available from publishers Schæffer-Poeschel.

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