German Offshore Wind Yield Drops in 2021

German offshore wind farms produced 24 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity in 2021, a 10.75 per cent decrease compared to the record-breaking 26.89 TWh of electricity generated in 2020.

The wind farms in the North Sea generated around 20.3 TWh of electricity in 2021, the transmission system operator TenneT said. This is some 10.8 per cent less than in 2020 when the North Sea wind farms generated 22.76 TWh of electricity.

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In the Baltic Sea, the wind farms generated 3.7 TWh in 2021, a 10.4 per cent drop compared to 4.13 TWh generated in 2020.

This has been the first time for Germany to record lower offshore production in a calendar year compared to a year before since adding the first megawatts of capacity back in 2010.

According to TenneT, the main reason behind the drop in production was 2021 being ”a low-wind year overall”. One of the reasons for the decrease is also the fact that Germany did not add a single megawatt of new capacity in the previous year.

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”In Germany, the share of North Sea electricity in total wind power generation now accounts for almost one fifth and is proving to be a stabilising factor in years with weak winds,” TenneT COO Tim Meyerjürgens said.

”On average, we generate around twice as many full-load hours offshore as onshore and can thus partially compensate for lulls on land. Recently, however, there has been no increase in offshore wind power. We therefore welcome the plans of Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck to give priority to offshore expansion in the future and to strengthen co-utilisation and cross-border projects in the process.”

The emergency programme announced by the Federal Minister of Economics could give the energy transition the urgently needed momentum it needs to get back on track and achieve the ambitious climate protection targets, Meyerjürgens said.

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”The approach of integrated, forward-looking planning of the various grid infrastructures is also correct – because this is the prerequisite for achieving climate neutrality in 2045,” Meyerjürgens said.

”For this, we urgently need modern, efficient planning and approval procedures. The goal must be to make planning as fast as construction. There are enough levers to be tightened, for example, standardisation of species protection and closer dovetailing of regional planning and planning approval procedures. At the same time, it is important that the government ensures that we have the necessary political support for implementation on the ground and that we jointly campaign for acceptance.”

Photo: © Siemens/TenneT; Illustration