Germany Pinpoints 36.5 GW of Offshore Wind Areas, Publishes Development Plan

Germany’s Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) has published a new area development plan for the expansion of offshore wind energy. The plan maps out the build-out of offshore wind by 2030, by when the country is to reach 30 GW of capacity connected to its grid, and sets the stage for further deployment of wind turbines at sea, with the 2035 target of 40 GW estimated to be exceeded.

With the development plan now in place, Germany has specified the areas for new offshore wind farms in the North and Baltic Seas, the tendering timeline, commissioning and grid connection. The plan also implements the acceleration measures adopted in the amended German Offshore Wind Act (WindSeeG), approved by the European Commission in December 2022.

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The amendments to the Act increased Germany’s expansion targets for installed capacity of offshore wind energy installations from 20 GW to at least 30 GW by 2030, at least 40 GW by 2035, and from 40 GW to at least 70 GW by 2040.

According to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), along with clearing out the path towards installing 30 GW by the end of this decade, the development plan has already laid the foundation for the 2035 target of 40 GW to be exceeded by 10 GW.

In order to accelerate the expansion, the plan concentrates on the existing areas, with further potential areas identified, which adds up to 36.5 GW of total capacity.

Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH)

With additional areas identified, further expansion of offshore wind energy with high annual additions is mapped, which will also provide investment security, according to the Ministry. An update process of the area development plan to determine the expansion after 2030 will start this spring.

To connect this amount of new offshore wind capacity to the grid, BSH has set the path for accelerating the realisation of the grid connections and defined further connection systems, and also specified cable routes for connecting the offshore platforms and the connection capacities to be provided on the platforms.

The new plan includes potential interconnections with other European countries, laying the foundation for a European offshore power grid in which the individual wind farms can be connected to one another, according to the Ministry, which said the plan took into account results from international working groups such as the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC).

In addition, the plan also defines a test field for the promotion of research and development (R&D) projects in coastal waters, as well as an enlarged area in the North Sea which allows for an electrolysis capacity of up to 1 GW to be tested and connected with a hydrogen pipeline.

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