New German Study Calls for 20GW of Offshore Wind by 2030

Fraunhofer IWES has released an updated study, commissioned by German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation (Stiftung Offshore-Windenergie), which shows that the availability of offshore wind farms has increased compared to the investigations in the previous version of the study, and points out that the Federal Government should raise the installed capacity target to at least 20GW for 2030, and at least 30GW for 2035 to achieve the energy transition goals. 

Image source: BARD Offshore (Illustration)

The required share of renewable energies for a cross-sectoral energy transition is only possible with a significant share of offshore wind energy, the study shows. A capacity of 25GW in 2030 and 57GW in 2050 are considered to be the optimal in terms of energy economy as offshore wind farms provide relatively constant power with well-predictable yields, making offshore wind a better choice than onshore wind and photovoltaic in the long-run.

The new analysis states the electricity yields of offshore installations are more predictable with offshore wind farms supplying electricity every day of the year. With a higher proportion of offshore wind energy in 2030 and 2050, the volatility of the residual load will be reduced, which in turn reduces the need and the costs of providing flexibility (such as backup power plants).

According to Germany’s current renewable energy act (EEG 2017), 15GW of installed offshore wind capacity is planned by 2030. To achieve the target of 25GW, an annual increase of between 0.8 and 1.8GW is necessary and, according to the study, is was already proven in 2015 that this was feasible since approximately 2.3GW were added.

The study examined the long-term energy significance of offshore wind energy in an increasingly decarbonised energy system by the year 2050. For that point in time, a full coverage of the final energy demand by renewable energies is assumed to be able to reach the Paris Agreement targets. The study thus goes beyond the 80% target of the 2013 predecessor study. Looking at the year 2030, Fraunhofer IWES assumed a 30% share of renewable energy in the final energy demand.

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