Germany heads for growth record

Blasting past all previous wind growth records, some 1250 MW of new wind capacity will be installed in Germany in 1999, about 520 MW more than in 1998. By the end of the year more than 7500 turbines with a total capacity exceeding 4000 MW will be turning in Germany, reports the country's wind energy association, Bundesverband Windenergie (BWE). This is fully one-third of the world's total wind power capacity.

In the first nine months of the year alone, 1056 turbines went on-line with a capacity of 943 MW, bringing the total to 3820 MW, according to BWE's Peter Ahmels. Growth was fastest in Lower Saxony, where 247 turbines, with a combined capacity of 200 MW were installed, bringing the total there to 1027 MW. This is about 25% of Germany's wind energy capacity and enough to cover 4% of power consumption in the Land, says Ahmels.

The year end result will put Germany well ahead of the United States, the long time world leader in installed wind capacity. America's total is expected to reach 2500 MW this year, notes Norbert Allnoch, head of the International Economic Forum for Renewable Energies at Münster University. Wind generation in Germany will increase by about 30% to 6 TWh in 1999, while financial turnover in the wind branch will pass DEM 3 billion (EUR 1.53 billion), a good step up from the DEM 2.2 billion of 1998, Allnoch adds.

Sales of wind turbines to Germany are dominated by three German and Danish suppliers, who between them share 60% of the market. German Enercon remains market leader in 1999, with a market share of 28.5% up to the end of September, followed by Nordex Borsig Energy, a German-Danish company, with 16.4% and Vestas Deutschland with 15.9%, says BWE. The average size of machine installed during the first nine months of 1999 was 890 kW, about 100 kW bigger than in 1998.