German onshore wind growth lags climate targets

Germany grew its onshore wind fleet by 1.4GW last year, but wind industry groups called for a faster expansion to help the country meet its climate targets

Germany’s cumulative onshore wind capacity grew to 54.9GW by the end of 2020 (pic credit: Enercon)
Germany’s cumulative onshore wind capacity grew to 54.9GW by the end of 2020 (pic credit: Enercon)

Germany added 1.4GW of onshore wind capacity last year, taking cumulative capacity to 54.9GW, according to Deutsche Windguard. Nevertheless, industry groups have called for a faster expansion to ensure climate targets are met.

Last year’s incremental capacity was 46% up on that recorded in 2019, but was insufficient to meet German industry’s rising demand for clean energy, according to the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) and engineering trade association, VDMA Power Systems.

Both expressed concerns about the likelihood of Germany failing to meet the onshore wind expansion targets set out in an amendment to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG).

The updated act charts a course towards 71GW of onshore wind capacity by 2030 and includes plans to tender 4GW annually to 2028.

However, VDMA Power Systems’ managing director Matthias Zelinger said that to date, there had been a “serious discrepancy between tender volumes and permits” awarded.

The groups called for Germany’s federal and state governments to collaborate on overcoming permitting obstacles, easing developers’ ability to enter projects into auctions.

Around 2-2.5GW of onshore wind capacity is expected to be added in Germany in 2021. But BWE’s CEO, Hermann Albers, said that meeting climate targets would require continuous growth in installed capacity. 

With the government set to adjust its renewable energy targets in spring 2021, the groups called for a 2030 onshore wind target of 95GW. 

Hermann Albers, head of the BWE, added that the government should implement a “consistent” repowering strategy. Germany repowered 102 turbines last year, adding 339MW of new capacity, according to Deutsche Windguard. However, 203 turbines providing 222MW were dismantled and decommissioned in 2020.

Germany is also lagging its offshore wind targets. It commissioned just 219MW of new capacity last year, according to Deutsche Windguard data.

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