A German repowering market

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The huge potential for replacing hundreds of outdated wind turbines in Germany with state-of-the-art technology is attracting political attention. The country's environment minister prior to last month's general election, Jürgen Trittin, says German wind development must now increasingly concentrate on repowering.

But of turbines with more generating capacity will require further extension of grid networks, says Trittin. A draft law proposed by the former government for an accelerated expansion of electricity networks fell victim to the election. It remains to be seen how quickly a new government, once formed, will return to the issue.

Trittin also believes the most important markets for Germany's wind power industry now lie outside the country's borders. He draws particular attention to China. But without a home market in Germany, the export potential could be lost, he warns. Changes to Germany's renewable energy law by a new government could stifle a "motor for industry and jobs," he says. Trittin reports that 130,000 are employed in renewable energy in Germany, 50,000 of those in the wind industry.

Trittin also draws attention to offshore wind development, which could represent a EUR 50 billion German industry over the next 25 years "as long as development chances exist." Offshore wind offers a "considerable potential for a future secure and climate-friendly energy supply and will make us more independent of oil as well as help the maritime industry sector," he says. Trittin was speaking at last month's Husum wind exhibition in northern Germany (page 68).

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