Alarm over German renewables policy restructuring

Offshore wind risks from revision proposals

Proposals to substantially revise the German renewable energy act were presented today by federal environment minister, Peter Altmaier. They provide little comfort for the offshore wind sector.

Altmeier proposes a limit on the amount of onshore and offshore wind capacity eligible for Germany’s guaranteed feed-in tariff, and he suggests that, instead, tendering and quota models be considered.

Critics of tendering and quotas argue that they lead to slower and more expensive renewables project than feed-in tariffs. Such systems are also widely seen to favour larger developers over smaller energy market players.

"The current renewable energy act is the key to Germany's transition from fossil fuels to renewables, a policy decided in 2011. Demanding a complete change now is like wanting a wheel change while travelling at 180 miles per hour on the motorway," said Ronny Meyer, managing director of Bremerhaven-based renewable energy agency, WAB.

"Peter Altmeier is Germany's first environment minister for whom expansion of renewables is going too fast. Instead of calling for a cap on wind...the government should do all it can to speed up network expansion," said Meyer, speaking with Windpower Offshore.

"A cap on offshore wind makes no sense because the sector is still in the starting blocks and at the beginning of the learning curve and cost reduction process," he added.

Germany’s federal renewable energy association, Bundesverband Erneuerbare Energien, has warned the minister that a cap on renewables expansion would be "investor-unfriendly" would risk "massive undesirable effects by pulling forward projects before the cap kicks into place."

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