Impressive German growth; wind provides 1% of demand

Google Translate

Building on a shining 1997 performance, the German wind business has excelled itself once more by bringing a further 1010 turbines on line in 1998 with a combined power output of 793.5 MW -- an annual growth rate of 48.6%.

Germany's grand wind power total for the end of the year was 2874 MW provided by 6204 wind turbines, reports the Deutsches Windenergie-Institute (DEWI), an independent conultancy based in Wilhelmshaven. In an average year of winds the turbines will generate around 5 TWh, about 1% of Germany's annual power consumption, says DEWI.

The 1998 figures show what a phenomenal achievement the wind industry is capable of when the political and economic framework conditions are right, comments Heinrich Bartelt of the Bundesverband Windenergie (BWE), the German wind association, in a thinly veiled jibe at the European Commission's advocacy of a different support system for Europe (page 22).

The ongoing boom in wind energy growth can also be felt in the German economy, says DEWI. Investment in wind reached around DEM 1.745 billion (Euro874 million) last year, and BWE points out that some 20,000 jobs have been created. Turbine manufacturers employ about 2000 people directly, of which about one third were taken on in 1998 alone. The rest are active in ancillary branches, such as planning, turbine installation, services, licensing, financing and insurance. The average size of wind turbine installed in 1998 was 785 kW, compared with 628 kW in 1997.

BWE chairman Peter Ahmels urges the new government to introduce a minimum price for renewables generated power to secure further development of the industry. Under the current system, where renewables receive a percentage of the end price of power to customers, liberalisation of the power market has resulted in falling power prices and therefore a drop in the remuneration for clean power. The rate for wind stipulated by the Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff (REFIT) has been cut to DEM 0.1652/kWh in 1999 from DEM 0.1679/kWh last year.

Enercon held its position as clear market leader in Germany in 1998 (table) despite losing just over four percentage points of market share in installed capacity. Nordex Balcke-Dürr surged up to push Vestas from second place, while Tacke Windenergie also improved its position, following its bankruptcy in 1997 and subsequent takeover by American energy giant Enron. NEG Micon is sixth in the 1998 list, with a market share of 8.1%, rather less than the combined market shares of Micon and Nordtank in 1997 before their merger. DeWind has more than doubled its market share as has Südwind Energiesysteme, while WindWorld, now an NEG Micon company, has moved on to the list with 1.9%.

With close on 820 MW of wind power in its territory, Lower Saxony has overtaken its northern neighbour Schleswig-Holstein and now boasts the largest amount of wind generation of all German Länder. But Schleswig-Holstein still has by far the highest wind penetration, with 15% of its power needs coming from wind plant, compared with a 3.5% contribution in Lower Saxony's.


On the export front, India was the primary target for German exports in 1998. A total of 74 German turbines (20.8 MW) were delivered to, or made in, the subcontinent. On India's heels follow Brazil (15 MW), Portugal (12.4 MW), Spain (7.7 MW), China (7.2 MW), Austria (6.7 MW), and Sweden (5.3 MW). Japan and the US were also on the German export map, along with ten further European countries and Argentina and Australia. Total exports amounted to 281 machines and 126 MW.

Over the years Enercon has been by far the most successful exporter of turbines from Germany, sending 132.85 MW to foreign customers in 17 countries, representing 13% of its total sales, according to the company. Of this, 72.5 MW was exported last year, representing 67% of all German wind exports, reports DEWI. Exports by Südwind, which now joins Nordex under the Balcke-Dürr umbrella, secured 11% of the German export market and Nordex secured 7.5% -- including turbines made in Denmark, according to DEWI. In contrast, Tacke Windenergie, the country's third largest wind company, only sold to the home market last year.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in