Industry Urges German Gov’t to Accelerate and Stabilise Offshore Wind Expansion

Bremerhaven-based association WAB e.V., together with several other German organisations and trade associations, has called on the new German government to accelerate and distribute its offshore wind expansion targets more evenly over the coming years, and to strengthen employment and value chain.

Illustration; Photo source: Deutsche WindGuard

The call for action follows the release of the latest offshore wind statistics from Deutsche Windguard, which show no new installations in the country in 2021. Overall, Germany currently has 1,501 offshore wind turbines with a capacity of 7,794 MW connected to the grid.

Tender volumes should be significantly increased this year to enable more construction activity more quickly, said the German Wind Energy Association (BWE), the German Offshore Wind Farm Operators Association, the Offshore Wind Energy Foundation, VDMA Power Systems, and WAB e.V.

The offshore wind targets recently set in the coalition agreement must now be incorporated into the country’s Offshore Wind Act (WindSeeG) without delay in order to avoid further loss of time, according to the organisations.

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“The commitment of the new German coalition to significantly accelerate the expansion of offshore wind energy is just as correct as the concrete target of at least 30 gigawatts by 2030. This target creates a positive perspective for the entire value chain”, BWE, BWO, VDMA Power Systems, WAB and the OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE Foundation commented on the new expansion targets.

“Now the grid and spatial planning for the implementation of the targeted expansion path should be revised without delay. The aim must be to leverage all acceleration potentials in order to enable an efficient and climate-protection-friendly expansion”.

The planned tender volumes must be significantly increased as quickly as possible in order to maintain and expand the existing innovation potential as well as employment and the value chain in Germany, the industry organisations said.

In addition, the spatial potential in German waters must be fully exploited. Conflicts of use should be resolved pragmatically and in line with climate protection, as such also supporting the interests of environmental protection.

It is also important to avoid an expansion bottleneck at the end of the decade, which could lead to bottlenecks in the supply chain and pose challenges for the industry’s capacity planning – especially since other nations have also increased their expansion targets, the organisations said in a joint press release on 13 January.

They also urged the German government to clarify at an early stage which additional offshore wind expansion requirements will be required for the increased target of 10 GW for electrolysis capacity for green hydrogen.

These areas should also be promptly located and put out to tender without delay. The regulatory framework for green hydrogen requires jointly coordinated specifications in Germany and Europe to make the market ramp-up of the green hydrogen economy commercially feasible, the organisations said.

The appropriate infrastructure is important for the medium- to long-term expansion of offshore wind energy. This also includes the coordinated expansion of electricity and gas grids for the production of green hydrogen in the North and Baltic Seas.

The industry organisations have also recommended that the authorities responsible for the expansion of offshore wind energy must be quickly reinforced in terms of personnel in order to be able to cope with the significantly accelerated planned expansion.

In addition, in order to have the necessary skilled workers for the planned long-term expansion of offshore wind energy, relevant study programs must be optimized. Training and continuing education programs must be supported and promoted, the German industry pointed out.