Windpower Monthly rating 2.5/5

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Our rating is based on a combination of project pipeline, political and policy support, investor confidence and structural readiness of the country in terms of grid infrastructure, permitting process and local supply chain.

Estimate of installed and operating wind power capacity based on the latest statisitics and measured against the Windpower Intelligence database.

Onshore wind dominates Germany's renewables electricity generation, with a 42% share in 2019, well ahead of offshore at 10%. But there the good news stops. Onshore wind additions plummeted to 730MW in 2019 from 2.27GW in 2018 and 4.9GW in 2017. Jobs in the industry have been slashed by 40,000 since 2016 and turbine manufacturer Senvion filed for insolvency in April 2019.

Permitting for onshore wind projects has dramatically slowed after changes in regional spatial development plans and legal challenges to permits from increasingly professionalised opponents. With only permitted projects allowed to participate in the regular auctions for support payments, half of the total auction volume of 3.7GW was awarded in 2019.

A federal government plan to improve permitting conditions was released in October 2019 but includes a minimum-distance rule of 1km from homes, which substantially reduces sites available for development.

A wave of onshore wind decommissioning is due in 2021 when financial support for around 6,000 wind turbines totallling some 4GW expires, potentially threatening Germany's target of 65% renewables share by 2030.

Offshore wind managed 1.1GW of growth in 2019 to 7.5GW, but industry sources say another 2GW is needed in the short term to use otherwise idle offshore transmission capacity and stave off a short-term industry slump. The offshore sector calls for a new target of at least 30GW by 2035, against the current 15GW, and a clear build-out roadmap to 2040 and 2050.

It is hoped that plans to phase out coal by 2038, which were confirmed in early 2020, will pave the way for a policy boost for renewables.

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