The decline in onshore wind generation and similarly poor figures for solar (-2.1% year-on-year) meant total electricity generation from renewable energy sources (+0.2%) remained largely constant, according to the Bundesnetzagentur (BNA).
This decline in power production hit operators’ earnings in 2016, BNA figures show.
Payments to operators of onshore wind farms under the German Renewable Energy Act (EEG) fell to €4.69 billion. This marks a drop of 7.7% when compared to 2015 — the greatest reduction in payment for all renewable energy operators.
However, offshore operators’ earnings rose to €1.95 billion — the 54.3% increase year-on-year being the largest rise in payments for all renewable sources.
"The year 2016 shows once again that the power generation in Germany is subject to constant change," said Jochen Homann, president of BNA.
"2016 was a poor wind year, so the production of electricity from renewable energy rose only slightly."
Blue line: yearly average wind speeds in northern Germany; green line: yearly average wind speeds across the whole country
Average land speeds in Germany dropped from about 6.6m/s in 2015 to roughly 6.1m/s in 2016, according to the BNA. This decline in wind speeds was felt even more acutely in northern Germany, where speeds fell from roughly 8m/s to about 7.3m/s.
Together, these slowed speeds contributed to a 4.6TWh drop in power output from onshore wind farms, the BNA concluded.
Meanwhile, driven by an increase in offshore capacity, offshore production in 2016 increased 48.1% year-on-year.
Offshore wind farms with a combined capacity of 848.7MW were installed in 2016 — an increase of 25.8% to the cumulative total as of 31 December 2015, according to the BNA.
This increase — the sharpest rise of all renewable sources in 2016 — meant the output from offshore projects increase 48.1% year-on-year.
Although onshore capacity grew by 4.16GW in 2016 — a 10.1% increase on the cumulative capacity at the end of the previous — both production and revenue decreased for wind farm operators.