Offshore Wind Growth Continues in Germany
Deutscher WindGuard has published the latest edition of its biannual statistics on offshore wind power for the first half of 2014 on behalf of German engineering association VDMA Power Systems and the German Wind Energy Association (BWE).
30 offshore wind turbines with a total capacity of 108 megawatts were connected to the grid in the first six months of this year off the German coast. In addition, 126 turbines with a total capacity of 542.7 megawatts were also installed during that timeframe, along with 158 foundations. Overall, Germany now has 146 offshore wind turbines on the grid with a capacity of 628.3 megawatts. The country currently has a total offshore wind power capacity of around 3,300 megawatts either under construction, completed, or already on the grid – more than half of the 6,500 megawatts to be built by 2020.
“The first round of projects is now on schedule according to the latest data. In 2014, we expect just under 1,000 megawatts of new capacity to be connected to the grid, with an additional approximately 1,500 megawatts coming in 2015,” explains Gerd Krieger, deputy director of VDMA Power Systems. The BWE also sees the data as a positive sign. “By the end of 2015, a dozen offshore wind farms with a total capacity of more than three gigawatts can generate some 14 terawatt-hours of power, enough to theoretically cover the average annual consumption of some 3.5 million households, a city the size of Berlin,” says BWE president Hermann Albers.
The organizations that contracted the study believe the future of offshore wind power is secure for the time being. After all, the newly amended EEG restores investment security for the second round of projects. As Norbert Giese put it: “The amended EEG has once again given the offshore sector planning and investment security. A window of a few years has been open for the further growth of offshore wind power. In addition, the offshore grid plan and details about grid connections need to be designed and pursued flexibly with an eye to protecting investments.” Giese represents three active associations and organizations from the offshore wind power sector as head of the VDMA steering committee on offshore wind power, chairman of the Offshore Wind Energy Foundation, and head of wind power agency WAB. Albers adds, “Unclear aspects about bidding processes need to be clarified as quickly as possible. Politicians also need to allow for transitional periods that take account of the time it takes to complete wind power projects.” He says that clearing up such matters would reduce risks for the third growth phase after 2020 and ensure that growth continues in order to keep costs down.