Turbine manufacturers anticipate that some 440 MW of capacity will go in the ground this year, over 30% more than in 1994. Gross turnover in the German wind sector was DEM 800-810 million in 1994, reports Norbert Allnoch from Münster University, an increase of 76.9% on 1993. At the same time, the cost per MW installed has declined 6.7% over the past year, to DEM 2.8 million/MW. Allnoch also reports that wind production in 1994, 940 million kWh, was 64.9% higher than the year before. His statistics of the amount of wind power installed in Germany put the total at slightly less than DEWI's, but the discrepancy seems to be explained by Allnoch not taking plant under 10 kW into account, nor those not yet connected to the grid.
The tempo of wind development is breathtaking for a country with a limited number of windy coastal sites and a relatively dense population. But the wind industry expects there to be no let up in 1995. Such optimism could be misplaced, though, according to Armin Keuper of Germany's wind energy institute, DEWI of Wilhelmshaven. He warns: "Reaching this record figure will not just depend on the interest of potential customers, great though this is. The outcome of the pending political scrutiny of the Electricity Feed Law (EFL) will be much more decisive." This law guarantees renewable energy operators a fixed price for their electricity -- for wind, 90% of the price paid by customers. "Rescinding the EFL would have fatal consequences for the whole renewables sector," says Keuper, who is responsible for the DEWI national statistics of wind power.
Heading for a world first
Barring an about turn in EFL policy, Keuper says Germany is well on the way to achieving at least 2000 MW of installed capacity by the year 2000. Half of this would be supplying electricity in the coastal state of Schleswig-Holstein, while neighbouring Lower Saxony, also with a stretch of North Sea coast, would have around 700 MW.
In the meantime, inland development of wind power continues apace. Wind plant developers have shown remarkable aptitude for pinpointing the relatively few sites away from the coast with good winds, where they are installing the larger turbines available on the market. As a result of this activity, wind development in the east German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which borders the Baltic coast, has not forged ahead of the inland state of North Rhine Westfalia. It was expected that, once free of the muddle of economic reorientation after unification of the west and east of Germany, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's good winds would allow it to spurt ahead in the wind development stakes, while North Rhine Westfalia (NRW) would plod on as best it could. But inland NRW has actually increased its wind power advantage over Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Brandenburg, another inland state, but in the east, has also made tremendous progress with 63 turbines installed in 1994 alone, 22 more turbines than were installed within the borders of its northern neighbour, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The difference in progress between the two east German Länder (states) does not lie in the quality of the wind resource -- so it can only be assumed that the quality of political support for clean energy is the deciding factor.
The German wind market continues to be dominated by one wind turbine manufacturer -- Enercon of Aurich. It has supplied 28.4% of all the installed capacity and 22.9% of all turbines. However, Tacke Windtechnik of Salzbergen has leapt forward in 1994, from sixth position on the 1993 hit list of total wind capacity installed in Germany, to number three at the end of 1994, behind Enercon and Danish-owned Vestas. In 1994 alone, Enercon and Tacke, both located in the wind-friendly state of Lower Saxony, accounted for 52% of rated capacity and 40% of all the turbines installed. Furthermore, the seven leading companies in Germany accounted for 92% of the installed capacity in 1994 while the eight leading companies supplied 85% of the turbines which went in the ground last year. As a consequence, market niches for smaller companies are shrinking. To survive, it seems they will have to look at markets abroad where the field is still relatively open.
Turbine exports from Germany are certainly growing, but compared with levels in neighbouring Denmark, where some 75% of all wind turbine production is exported, German sales are far from significant. Since 1990, ten companies in Germany have exported just 77 turbines with a rated capacity of 18.122 MW, or only 3.2% of all turbines manufactured, says DEWI. However, 1995 should see a sharp increase in machines delivered abroad -- turbine manufacturers expect that 20% of their total production, or around 100 MW, will be shipped abroad.