German wind auction reaches 1GW for first time since 2017

Developer appetite drove higher capacity awards, according to German wind energy association BWE, but problems persist

This was the first time more than 1GW was awarded in a German onshore wind tender since December 2017 (pic credit: GE)

More than 1GW of capacity was awarded in Germany’s second onshore wind-only tender of the year, but the auction was still undersubscribed.

The country’s energy regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), awarded contracts for 127 wind farms with a combined capacity of 1,110.39MW. It has not publicly listed how many bids were excluded from the tender, but has informed unsuccessful developers.

This was the first time more than 1GW was awarded in a German onshore wind tender since November 2017.

However, the BNetza had made 1,243.23MW of wind power capacity available in the latest auction, meaning the tender was undersubscribed – a familiar trend in Germany.

Successful bid prices ranged between €56.80 and €60/MWh — the maximum price allowed — with a volume-weighted average of €59.10/MWh.

This is a narrowing of the €51.50-/60/MWh range in the most recent tender, which closed in February.

Successful developers included ABO Wind, BayWa, Boreas, Denker & Wulf, EnBW, Energiequelle, Enertrag, Juwi, PNE, Prokon, RWE and Trianel.

BWE president Hermann Albers the fact that the 1GW milestone has been reached “shows how much the industry cares about new projects”.

However, he called for more action from state and federal governments to ensure enough projects are permitted and eligible to compete in Germany’s wind auctions.

The BWE noted that about 150MW of the capacity successful in the tender had already secured a contract at auction in February 2018. However, these projects were not implemented and their contracts expired, meaning they had to bid again.

Greater ambition

Earlier this year, the federal government agreed to increase onshore wind tender volumes from 2.8GW a year to 4GW from 2022 — a move that could help the country towards this raised target.

However, a lack of permitted projects has meant that Germany’s onshore wind tenders are routinely undersubscribed.

Energy minister Peter Altmaier had convened a roundtable discussion on what to do with turbines exiting the country’s support system in October 2020. The government then pledged to address repowering and permitting issues with legislation in the first quarter of 2021. However, any action has yet to materialise.

The German government also plans to increase its onshore wind target for 2030 to 95GW, from 71GW stated previously, according to a new draft law published earlier this month.

However, the law cannot be passed until after the German federal election in September.