Germany

Germany

Wind sector calls for more ambition as German cabinet approves energy reform

Germany's federal cabinet has approved reform to help renewables provide 65% of the country's electricity by 2030

German energy minister Peter Altmaier unveiling the draft amendment to the country's Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG)
German energy minister Peter Altmaier unveiling the draft amendment to the country's Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG)

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The German wind industry has criticised a new draft amendment to the country’s renewable energy sources act (EEG) for a lack of detail on repowering and a lack of ambition on onshore wind energy expansion.

This week the federal cabinet approved a draft amendment to its EEG, whereby it aims to expand clean energy, so renewables can provide 65% of Germany’s electricity by 2030.

The amendment still needs to be passed by Germany's Bundestag (parliament) before being passed into law.

It envisages onshore wind growing from 55GW today to 71GW by 2030, and offshore wind rising from 7.7GW today to 20GW by 2030.

The government plans to auction 27.3GW of onshore wind between 2021 and 2028, and also aims to hold joint-technology auctions for 5.4GW during this period, in which onshore wind could compete against solar PV and biomass.

It aims to set a ceiling price for onshore wind tenders of €62/MWh, and then lower this by 2% every year, under the amendment.

Germany is yet to outline the schedule for its next series of offshore wind tenders, but earlier this summer unveiled new long-term targets of 20GW by 2030 and 40GW by 2040.

There would also be a quota introduced for wind farms in the south: projects in southern Germany must account for 15% of those awarded in tenders in 2021-23 and 20% in 2024. This is to incentivise onshore wind development in the south of the country. Typically, onshore wind farms have been built in the north, where winds are stronger.

Communities that allow wind farms to be built are also due to receive €20/MWh for 20 years, as the government aims to increase public acceptance of onshore wind. However, this amount can be reduced if the wind farm operator offers discounted power supply contracts to people living nearby.

Reaction

The German Wind Energy Association (BWE)’s president Herman Albers said there were elements of the draft law that can “give new impetus to the expansion of wind energy”, but the organisation was critical on a number of issues.

There was no repowering strategy unveiled in the document. 

However, energy minister Peter Altmaier said he would convene a round-table meeting of stakeholders to discuss possible funding solutions for turbines exiting the EEG support scheme, with a solution due by November.

The BWE also called for the government to target 87GW of operational onshore wind capacity by 2030,  rather than the new 71GW target, arguing this would be sufficient to meet Germany’s 65% renewable energy target.

It also called for the government to make up for the low tender volumes of previous years before 2024. Germany’s tenders have typically been undersubscribed in recent years, with developers struggling to secure the necessary permits for their wind farms in time. The German cabinet approved a law earlier this summer aiming to speed up lawsuits against already-permitted infrastructure projects, including wind farms.

The BWE welcomed efforts to increase public acceptance of wind, but argued that the proposed €20/MWh was too high, and stated a €10/MWh would be sufficient.

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