Germany unsettled at lack of visibility

GERMANY: The German wind industry has called for visibility of auction schedules, and criticised permitting procedures becoming "more protracted".

A total of 1,626MW was installed in Germany in the first six months of the year (pic credit: Petra Klawikowski)
A total of 1,626MW was installed in Germany in the first six months of the year (pic credit: Petra Klawikowski)

In total, 497 onshore turbines with a combined capacity of 1,626MW were installed between 1 January and 30 June in Germany — 28.7% less than the capacity installed in the same period in 2017 — according to WindEurope.

Offshore, 62 turbines with a combined capacity of 430MW were added in the first half of the year, but these are not yet grid-connected.

The German wind energy association (BWE) and engineering body VDMA Power Systems stated this decline in installations was expected, but warned reforms needed to be made in order to meet renewable energy targets.

Recent tenders had favoured so-called ‘citizens’ projects that were allowed to compete without a full set of permits, the two organisations argued.

The two groups stated this imbalance was "visible in the order backlogs and the short-term growth outlook".

Between 3GW and 3.5GW new capacity was forecast for 2018 — down from an annual average of 4.6GW between 2014 and 2017.

Herman Albers, the BWE’s president argued clarity was needed on auction schedules in the country, and the process of approving permits — a requirement for participation in tenders — was becoming "more protracted".

The resulting backlog had prevented projects from being eligible to compete in tenders and had created a "dramatic slump" in installations, he said.

He also called for a decision to be made on whether to continue operating up-to-16GW of turbines that may need repowering by 2025.

The possibility of these projects coming offline would also need to be considered if Germany’s new coalition government is to meet its goal of sourcing 65% of its electricity from renewables by 2030, Albers said.


Meanwhile, Germany’s cumulative offshore capacity has remained the same at 5,387MW, according to the latest data from Deutsche WindGuard.

However, the analysts added they expect Germany to meet its target under the Energy Industry Act of installing 7.7GW offshore by 2020.

Construction work is now underway on five projects — the 396MW Merkur, 450MW Borkum Riffgrund II, 497MW Hohe See, 385MW Arkona and 203MW Trianel Windpark Borkum II sites — the analysts noted.

Meanwhile, successful power tests have been carried out at Merkur.

The majority (89%) of the 62 turbines added between 1 January and 30 June were installed on monopiles, while the remainder (11%) were installed on suction buckets at Borkum Riffgrund II.

This marks the first time suction buckets had been utilised in German waters, Deutsche WindGuard noted.

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