Breathtaking growth in Germany -- Nearly 1600 MW in one year

A stunning 1568 MW of wind capacity was installed in Germany in 1999, nearly twice as much as in 1998, already a record year. Last year, however, there was so much activity that new wind capacity nearly equalled that achieved by the conventional power sector, which was due to bring 1938 MW on-line, according to a mid-year forecast by the Vereinigung Deutscher Elektrizitaetswerke, the German utilities association. The new conventional plant was 1804 MW of lignite power station units, with 127 MW of gas power and just 7 MW from other technologies.

New wind in 1999 is made up of 1676 turbines bringing the German total to 7879 machines with a combined rated power of 4445 MW, reports the Deutsches Windenergie-Institut (DEWI). Germany's total power station capacity was about 98,200 MW last year, with nominal wind plant capacity contributing about 4.5% of this total, says DEWI.

Another tally, however, suggests DEWI's total is slightly conservative. According to the Bundesverband Windenergie association, the German total is now 4450 MW, generating 8.5 TWh in a year of normal winds. With total German electricity consumption in 1999 of 460 TWh (down 0.2% on 1998), this makes wind's contribution 1.85%.

DEWI reports that the average size of wind turbines commissioned was just over 935 kW, compared with 785 kW in 1998. Altogether about DEM 3.4 billion was invested in new wind plant, double the 1998 figure of some DEM 1.745 billion.

Supplier shares

Enercon lost 5.5% of its market share in installed capacity in 1999, compared with 1998, but still accounted for over one quarter of project development in Germany. Vestas followed with 15.7% and Nordex with 13.2%. Sales by Nordex and Südwind, two divisions of the same company, are listed separately by DEWI, but even their combined installations do not put them above Vestas' achievement. Vestas, Tacke, NEG Micon, DeWind and newcomer Frisia Windkraftanlagen all improved their market share last year. Frisia is the turbine manufacturing arm of wind project developer and financier Neue Energie Verbund, more commonly known as Nevag. It was formed after merging with wind financier Enersys and Ventus. Frisia was the German agent for Denmark's Wind World until 1997. It now builds 750 kW and 850 kW variable speed, pitch controlled machines.

Biggest boost

Geographically, the biggest increase in wind capacity was registered by Lower Saxony, which saw 385.23 MW of new plant go up in 1999, bringing its grand total to 1204.18 MW. Schleswig-Holstein was the next most active state on the wind front, with 226.11 MW added to its total. Both Länder have long stretches of windy North Sea coast line. Substantial increases were also clocked up in the east German inland states of Brandenburg (215.26 MW) and Saxon-Anhalt (210.73 MW). Mecklenburg, with its Baltic Sea coastline, managed 139.79 MW.

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