Two more years before market stop -- German industry predictions

Around 2000 MW of new wind capacity will be installed in Germany this year, followed by 2500 MW next year and the same again the year after, according to a report by Övermühle Consult and Marketing of Hamburg. It asked Germany's more than 70 wind project developers about their short and medium term plans, receiving 60 responses to the survey.

The plans indicate that 7000 MW of new wind capacity will be installed between 2001 and 2003 -- and the government's target of 12,500 MW by 2010 will be achieved by the end of 2003, the company says. It assumes that no large offshore wind stations will be on-line by then.

Germany's wind power capacity had reached nearly 7000 MW by mid June and most wind developers are looking for additional staff "to manage and supervise construction for the many new projects in the pipeline," the study states. It also reveals that many developers are looking at markets abroad or diversifying their activities in preparation for the expected slow down of the German onshore market at the end of 2003.

In an overview of company activities abroad, the study notes that more German developers are active in Poland than in any other country. Twenty-four companies have wind development activities in Poland compared with 16 in Spain and Greece, 13 in France 11 in Italy and ten in the Balkan region.

Övermühle reveals that about half of the companies that participated in its survey are already diversifying into biomass and biogas activities. Solar photovoltaics is equally popular. Small companies unable to expand their wind development activities abroad are likely to seek new opportunities by diversifying at home, the study suggests.

One German wind developer is bucking the trend and refusing to either leave the home market or move into other areas of renewable energy. "Our philosophy is no foreign projects, no other renewables, no marketing of wind funds, no purchase of half developed or completed projects. We do only wind, both onshore and offshore and manage the same turnover with 40 people as other companies with 100," says Winkra Energie's Uwe Carstensen. "We have a ten year horizon with about 100 MW a year onshore over the next five years and after that 50 MW annually onshore and offshore," he adds.