Germany Changing Offshore Wind Legislation to Reach New Targets

The German government is changing offshore wind legislation to reach the new targets of 30 GW of operational offshore wind by 2030, 40 GW by 2035, and at least 70 GW by 2045.

The actions are part of the recently passed “Easter Package”, the most profound changes to German energy policy since the introduction of competitive auctions in 2017, WindEurope said.

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Auctioning Off Not Pre-Developed Sites

Through the Easter Package, the German government has pledged to prioritise offshore wind in maritime spatial planning, shorten permitting procedures and hire additional staff in the permitting authorities.

On top of that the package plans to auction not pre-developed sites, WindEurope said.

In the future, the expansion of offshore wind in Germany would be based on auctions of sites that have already been pre-surveyed by state authorities on the one hand, and auctions of sites that have not yet been pre-developed on the other hand.

Centrally pre-developed areas would be auctioned based on price, awarding 20-year Contracts for Difference (CfDs) to successful bidders.

Not centrally pre-developed areas would be auctioned according to a catalogue of criteria which would also include qualitative criteria.

WindEurope said that it is essential that these qualitative criteria allow differentiation between individual bids – without significantly increasing planning and financing costs.

The German government is also looking into options of auctioning wind energy in combination with renewable hydrogen production.

The Easter Package is not the last legislative change for wind energy in this political term. To reduce Germany’s dependence on Russian fossil fuel imports, Germany’s Economy and Energy Minister Robert Habeck has pledged to move forward the announced “Summer Package” to May.

This package will include a national repowering strategy, new measures to ensure sufficient sites for wind energy, improvements to permitting, and a new strategy to harmonise the expansion of wind energy with biodiversity and nature protection.

Already earlier this week, the government announced plans for a new approach to nature and species protection to ensure an environmentally-friendly expansion of wind energy.

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Photo: Illustration; Borkum Riffgrund 2 offshore wind farm in Germany; Photo: Ørsted