Germany has now reached an installed wind power capacity of well over 400 MW. The energy is generated by 2079 turbines according to the latest survey by German wind institute, DEWI, of Wilhelmshaven. Despite the negative attitude of the traditional power establishment, wind energy is steadily expanding in Germany.

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Installed wind power capacity in Germany is now well over 400 MW. In the first six months of the year, new installed capacity amounted to 298 machines with a rated capacity of 98.087 MW. This brought total capacity to 429.05 MW, generated by 2079 turbines in the ground at the end of June, according to the latest survey by German wind institute, DEWI, of Wilhelmshaven. During the whole of 1993, 151.6 MW of wind power was installed.

The trend in larger turbines means that 500-600 kW machines are now regarded as state-of-the-art technology. The average installed capacity of a wind turbine in Germany has increased to 206.4 kW. The popularity of the 500 kW turbine is also clearly apparent. Since the beginning of 1993, 232 of this size have been installed. This represents the second largest size category in the DEWI survey, after the 150 kW turbine, of which 261 were erected in the same period. In Schleswig Holstein, where there is most activty, the average size of turbine in the first half of 1994 was 436 kW.

Potential annual production of Germany's installed wind capacity is 918 GWh or 1.13% of the consumption of the five coastal Länder where the majorityis installed. As a share of Germany's total electricity consumption, wind energy provides 0.19%.

Regional distribution in Germany is heavily weighted towards the coastal Länder of Schleswig Holstein and Lower Saxony. However, inland North Rhine Westfalia is still holding its own against Mecklenburg Vorpommern, despite predictions that the eastern state was about to forge ahead. DEWI reports that the leading Länder in terms of installed capacity in mid-1994 were Schleswig Holstein with 770 turbines (196.505 MW), Lower Saxony with 684 turbines (143.409 MW), North Rhine Westfalia with 308 turbines (33.266 MW), Mecklenburg Vorpommern with 117 turbines (26.822 MW) and Rhineland Palatinate with 54 turbines (7.938 MW).

Of the wind manufacturers, Enercon from the home country continues at the forefront as market leader in both installed capacity and number of turbines, followed at some distance by Vestas of Denmark, which has a German subsidiary. Compared with end-1993, Tacke of Germany has now overtaken AN Bonus, a manufacturer of Danish turbines, now in fourth position followed by Micon and Nordtank, also of Denmark

Despite the continuing derogatory comments from much of the traditional power industry, wind energy is steadily carving a significant niche for itself in German power generation. It is also providing increasing numbers of jobs. A DEWI survey concludes that the German wind industry's annual turnover will surpass DEM 500 million in 1994, including component suppliers and wind sector services. The number of employees in the entire sector will reach 2,900. Turnover in 1994 will be 22% greater than in 1993 when it reached DEM 360 million. Just six years ago in 1988 sales were no more than DEM 23 million.

There are no signs that this rate of expansion will slacken. Turnover and the number of employees continue to rise, despite the increasing efficiency of the industry. In 1994, only five employees are needed to manufacture 1 MW of rated power, compared with 15 back in 1989. At the same time the ratio of installed power to manufacturer's turnover has risen from 0.25W:DEM 1.0 in 1988 to 0.455W:DEM 1.0. Also manufacturer's sales have now reached DEM 440,000 per employee compared with DEM 80,000 per employee in 1988.

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