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Germany

Germany

Electricity association groans over cost of its wind power burden -- German wind power on track for 2000 MW this year

Germany is on target for another record breaking year of wind turbine installations, and this article covers the first quarter details. But the news of a still escalating rate of installation for wind plant in Germany will not please electricity federation VDEW. It claims that the premium payments electricity companies are obliged to make to renewable energy generators cost them DEM 1 billion last year.

If the current rate of wind power installation in Germany continues, the country is on target for another record breaking year. Some 300 MW of wind plant was installed in the first three months, putting the sector on course for 2000 MW of new plant this year -- a volume that will rival that now going up in the United States. Germany's additions will bring its total wind capacity to just over 8000 MW, however, nearly twice that projected for the US at the end of the year.

But the news of a still escalating rate of installation for wind plant in Germany will not please electricity federation VDEW. It claims that the premium payments electricity companies are obliged to make to renewable energy generators cost them DEM 1 billion last year. The support paid for electricity generated in combined heat and power plant cost about the same, while Germany's electricity tax reaped DEM 1.3 billion, according to VDEW.

Deutsche Verbundgesellschaft (DVG), representing the transmission system operators (TSO) reports that renewables operators received DEM 1.65 billion in premium payments for their electricity under the rules of the Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz (EEG), the renewable energy law which took effect in April 2000. Corrected to represent 12 months, the figure would have been DEM 2.204 billion. What the VDEW is claiming, it would seem, is that half the amount received by renewables operators under the EEG is over and above the avoided costs from not having to generate that power in conventional plant and is therefore an extra financial "burden" on society.

The EEG introduced a mechanism by which TSOs spread the cost of the premium payments for wind power -- which is mainly generated in the most windy parts of Germany -- equally across all the transmission companies. Over the eight months from April to December 2000, each TSO accepted a renewables quota of 2.9% of its sales to consumers, reports DVG. It adds that this calculation is based on sales of 341 TWh, less than half the total sales of renewables in Germany because those by electricity traders dealing mainly in green power are excluded from the quota.

Up to 6400 MW

Each TSO paid an average of DEM 16.71/kWh for the 2.9% of electricity in its supply portfolio generated from all renewable energy plant. The VDEW seems to think the TSOs should not be expected to pay more than about DEM 0.08/kWh. The premium payments for renewables electricity varied in 2000 from DEM 0.13-0.15/kWh for hydro, to DEM 0.178/kWh for wind and up to DEM 0.99/kWh for photovoltaic generation. Wind power, according to DVG, delivered nearly 58% of total renewables generation in Germany.

The 297.5 MW of new wind plant installed from January to March this year was provided by 237 turbines, bringing the country's current total to 6400 MW, reports Bundesverband Windenergie (BWE), the German wind energy association. Most new capacity is sited Lower Saxony (95.3 MW), followed by North Rhine Westphalia (55.6 MW) and the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein (40.6 MW).

Enercon was by far the most popular manufacturer in the first quarter of 2001, creaming off 47.1% of the market. Its market share in 2000 was 27.4%. Enercon is followed by Nordex with 10.2% so far this year, AN Windenergie with 9.8% and Vestas Deutschland with 9.1%.

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