New policy measures fall flat in latest German tender

Prices remained level in Germany's latest undersubscribed tender for onshore wind -- the first after a raft of policy measures were adopted to revive the country's faltering energy transition.

Bids were entered for just 30% of the capacity available (pic credit: Volkswind)

The country’s federal energy regulator (Bundesnetzagentur) awarded contracts for 25 projects with a combined capacity of 204MW — just 30% of the 675MW on offer.

Successful bid prices ranged between €61.90/MWh and €62/MWh, and had a weighted average of €62/MWh.

This was the same price range and average as awarded in the country’s auction in August, in which the weighted average had inched up from €61.30/MWh from the previous round.

The 204MW awarded in this latest tender was slightly below the 208MW awarded in August. No bids were excluded in the auction.

Brandenburg had the most successful bids (nine), followed by Schleswig-Holstein and North-Rhine Westphalia (six each), Saxony-Anhalt (two) and Thuringia and Bavaria (one each).

One contract was awarded to a so-called "community project", the Bundesnetzagentur (BNA) said.

In a separate but simultaneous tender for solar PV, 153 bids for a total of 648MW were put forward  — more than four times the 150MW available.

The BNA awarded 27 contracts for 153MW, with a price range of €45.90-52/MWh and a weighted average of €49/MWh.

It did not comment on the reasons for the onshore wind auction being undersubscribed, but has previously blamed difficulties in permitting at state-level for developers’ apparent lack of interest.

In a report earlier this year, industry body WindEurope claimed 11GW of projects were currently being held back in Germany — due to permitting issues.

The German wind energy association (BWE) was again unimpressed with the tender being undersubscribed.

"The results of the fifth competition round in 2019 are disastrous, but we are not surprised," said Hermann Albers, the BWE’s president.

"For months, we have been making very concrete proposals to finally solve the permitting process for wind energy together with politicians," he added. 

The BWE was one of several industry groups consulted while the German government drew up a raft of climate policy measures. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet approved a package of climate measures this month to support the country’s aim of reaching climate neutrality by 2050, including by kick-starting its wind power industry.

The package includes plans to accelerate permitting for onshore wind projects by fast-tracking legal action over projects’ noise levels and restricting challenges to permit awards, among other measures.

However, the clean energy industry in Germany was unimpressed with the changes.