Germany's leading wind industry associations have urged the German government to issue a tender for 1.5GW of available offshore grid capacity in the first quarter of 2019, and to increase the 2030 and 2035 expansion volumes.
The associations, BWE, BWO, Stiftung OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE, VDMA Power Systems, and WAB, said that the Omnibus Energy Act passed in December 2018 does not contain a special contribution for offshore wind energy as originally planned in the coalition agreement.
The parties SPD and CDU/CSU have indeed commissioned the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency to prepare a scenario framework for offshore wind farms in the 15 to 20GW range. However, the concrete policy measures that derive from this are completely unclear, the associations said.
The opportunity to launch the special contribution provided for in the coalition agreement in the first quarter of 2019 by awarding at least 1,500MW to use the converter capacities still available should now be seized, the industry representatives said, adding that there is also an urgent need for action regarding the test field for offshore wind energy.
"2019 must be the year of progress in energy policy. Offshore wind energy is of central importance for the achievement of climate protection targets and secures value creation in Germany as an industrial player,'' the industry representatives said.
New Expansion Volume Targets
The current political conditions are slowing down the further positive development of offshore wind energy in Germany, the associations said. According to the coalition agreement, 65 percent of German power production is to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2030, which, however, cannot be achieved with the currently planned expansion.
"In order to contribute to achieving the goals of the coalition agreement, the offshore wind industry needs to expand to at least 20 GW by 2030 and at least 30 GW by 2035. The Energy Policy Agenda 2019 offers the opportunity to make forward-looking decisions this year and to complete the missing statements on offshore wind in the Omnibus Energy Act," the industry representatives said.
According to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, the offshore wind industry has invested more than EUR 15 billion since 2013. The industry now needs a reliable framework and a clear political signal. To achieve this, the higher expansion volume must be put in place as quickly as possible and the planning prerequisites must be created.
Insisting on the status quo costs jobs and threatens the international competitiveness of Germany as an industrial location. The current migration of qualified workers to foreign markets is a warning signal that must be taken seriously. For Germany as an industrial location, the know-how in offshore wind energy acquired over many years is an essential advantage in the growing international competition that must be maintained, the associations said.
According to the latest figures published by Deutsche WindGuard, 1,305 offshore wind turbines with a total output of 6,382MW fed into the grid in 2018.
In this period, 136 new turbines with an output of 969MW were connected to the grid. This confirms the forecast made last year by the industry associations.
In addition, 276MW were fully installed but have not yet fed into the grid. Furthermore, a capacity of 966MW is currently under construction. The final investment decision has been made for another 112MW. The legally permitted expansion of 7.7 GW by 2020 will therefore probably be achieved as planned, according to the associations.
"Power production from offshore wind increased by around eight percent in 2018 while costs declined, thus contributing to a stable, low-cost and clean electricity supply. With this balance and the correct and urgently needed initiative by Minister Altmaier to expand the grid, the preconditions are met for a faster expansion," the industry representatives said.