German Q1 onshore installations plummet 87%

Onshore wind installations in Germany in the first quarter of 2019 were dramatically lower than any other first quarter this century.

Construction and permitting of wind projects in Germany has slowed considerably (pic: PNE)
Construction and permitting of wind projects in Germany has slowed considerably (pic: PNE)

Only 41 turbines with a combined 134MW went online, just 13% of the average first quarter performance for between 2016 and 2018 period, reported FA Wind, a German onshore wind agency.

Thirteen Vestas turbines, 11 Enercon, seven Nordex, six Senvion, three ENO Energy and a single Siemens Gamesa model were spread across seven of Germany‘s 16 states, with 13 turbines in the western state of Rhineland Palatinate alone.

Eight turbines were part of repowering projects meaning net capacity growth was lower than 134MW.

The dire first three months of 2019 continues the downward trend that began in April 2018 with its roots in the 2017 auctions for wind support when so-called citizens’ wind enterprises were allowed to bid unpermitted projects, explained FA Wind.

Some 90%, or 2,688MW, of 2017 auction allocations went to unpermitted projects, but by April 2019, only 167MW of the capacity had been permitted.

Out of 730 turbines that won an allocation in 2017, only 35 have been commissioned, five of them in the first three months of 2019.

Permitted projects require roughly a year between auction allocation and commissioning, meaning some of the 713 turbines, totaling 2,343MW, that were won at 2018 auctions could be commissioned over the coming months of 2019, said FA Wind.

But 2019 installations are unlikely to reach the 2018 level of 2,464MW, which in turn was 55% less than in 2017, especially with some 750MW of capacity being blocked by legal action.

The permitting situation has slightly improved with 111 turbines (413MW) getting the green light in the first quarter, a third more capacity than the average of the same periods of 2017 and 2018.

But average capacity permitted in the first quarters of 2014-2016 was three times higher, pointed out FA Wind.

By the end of April 2019, the permitted onshore pipeline stood at 1,338 wind turbines, totaling 4.3GW, of which 60%, or 2,590MW, holds a support allocation won at auction, reported FA Wind.

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