8.1 GW of Offshore Wind Feeding Into German Grid; Decisive Action Needed to Install Further 22 GW by 2030, Industry Says

Germany said goodbye to 2022 with 8,100 MW of offshore wind capacity connected to the grid after all wind turbines at RWE’s Kaskasi offshore wind farm (342 MW) went into operation mid-December. Although this is a step forward, the country is still 22 GW away from its 2030 target and the government needs to take decisive action to add this much offshore wind in the next eight years, German industry warns.

“A plan alone is not enough here. Together with politicians, we must immediately create a realistic basis for the implementation of the expansion targets for offshore wind energy for electricity and green hydrogen”.

– BWE, BWO, Stiftung OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE, VDMA Power Systems, WAB e.V. and WindEnergy Network e.V.

While the country will soon add further 247 MW of offshore wind the grid with the Parkwind’s Arcadis Ost 1 project coming online this year, low activity in 2020 and none in 2021, and less than 1 GW expected to be installed over the next couple of years, are setting up the stage for Germany needing to install a significant amount of new offshore wind capacity in the five years leading up to 2030.

According to the latest data from Deutsche WindGuard, 965 MW are expected to be added until 2025, with 476,25 MW from Baltic Eagle and 241,75 MW from Gode Wind 3 scheduled to be put into operation in 2024, after Arcadis Ost 1’s 247 MW are commissioned this year.

From 2025 until the end of 2027, 4,665 MW are planned to be connected to the grid, starting with Borkum Riffgrund 3 and EnBW He Dreiht in 2025, followed by Windanker, Nordsee Two and the offshore wind farm at the N-3.7 site in 2026, and the Gennaker project and the project at the N-7.2 site coming online in 2027.

Source: Deutsche WindGuard

The construction of projects from the 2023 tenders will take place as of 2028, with a total of 8,800 MW being tendered.

Commenting on the data released by Deutsche WindGuard, German offshore wind industry organisations say they expect a significant increase in activities to reach the expansion target from 2025, and especially towards the end of the 2030 – and that this requires industrial feasibility.

Achieving the expansion targets for offshore wind in Germany of at least 30 GW by 2030, between 40 and 50 GW by 2035 and at least 70 GW by 2045 requires decisive political action, BWE, BWO, Stiftung OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE, VDMA Power Systems, WAB e.V. and WindEnergy Network e.V. said.

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“A steady and even expansion path is needed to build stable supply chains and a future-oriented expansion of manufacturing capacities. The production capacities and skilled workers needed to achieve the expansion targets have been lacking to a substantial degree to date. A plan alone is not enough here. Together with politicians, we must immediately create a realistic basis for the implementation of the expansion targets for offshore wind energy for electricity and green hydrogen”.

The industry is also calling for further amending the WindSeeG (German Offshore Wind Act), saying the bidding component introduced last year increases the risks for investors and burdens electricity customers with additionally rising prices.

“This is because it is clear that offshore wind farm operators will have to earn back the bid component. The Ukraine war has painfully shown how important diversity of players is. However, there is no safeguard mechanism in the current tender design to ensure this. The maximum amount of expansion to be subsidised per bidder and year should be limited”, the industry organisations said.

With the large volume of the tenders, the government and industry must work hand in hand right from the start “to avoid subsequent improvements” and to preserve the diversity of players among project developers, the organisations pointed out and further added that clarity and visibility also need to be ensured for the supply chain, where orders are needed to enable the ramp-up of the offshore wind industry for the German market and make the necessary investments in production and supply chain, infrastructure, and logistics.

After a few years of low activity on the domestic market, many German suppliers are currently busy processing orders for the international offshore wind market, according to BWE, BWO, Stiftung OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE, VDMA Power Systems, WAB e.V. and WindEnergy Network e.V.

“With a growth of the offshore wind supply chain, immense value creation potentials open up, in addition to a cost-effective energy supply and greater security of supply for Europe. In addition, long-term and future-oriented employment prospects are also offered. These must be realized in addition to the necessary climate protection”, the industry organisations said.

German offshore wind industry also brought spotlight to the issues of potential bottlenecks in materials required for component construction for offshore wind turbines, the lack of industrial capacities for the expansion of offshore wind energy, and the need to upgrade port infrastructures as well as German shipyards for the construction of foundation structures, transformer and converter platforms, and specialised offshore wind vessels.

Furthermore, the industry organisations highlighted that the German government needs to step up its work on training and qualification in the offshore wind industry, and securing skilled workforce.

“With regard to the need for skilled workers, the associations would like to see more freedom of movement for workers across EU borders and an effective immigration policy”.

They also called the government to help create easy investment and financing conditions and support the promotion of new production capacities that provide the necessary liquidity in the manufacturing industry, as well as internationally fair competitive conditions.

“Europe must find a strong, joint response to the measures of the US Inflation Reduction Act in particular”, the industry organisations said.

In addition, BWE, BWO, Stiftung OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE, VDMA Power Systems, WAB e.V. and WindEnergy Network e.V. called for establishing regulations for the production of green hydrogen by using offshore wind capacities.

“The production of green hydrogen at sea is still in its infancy and requires the necessary regulatory framework to enable the development of concrete business models. Only in this way can the defined ramp-up of hydrogen production from offshore wind energy through tenders of at least 500 MW per year from 2023 succeed”, German industry organisations said.

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Photo: Kaskasi offshore wind farm; Photo: © RWE AG / Matthias Ibeler