German wind 'set for 10-year high'

The government’s latest proposition is not good news for the German wind industry

An onshore wind farm in Germany

Onshore wind power installations in Germany in 2013 will be the highest for 10 years, according to preliminary data from the Fraunhofer IWES institute.

Germany is likely to end up installing about 2.5GW of new onshore capacity this year, the highest level of new installations since 2003 when 2.7GW was added, the institute says.

The figure is based on a projection of data from January to October to the entire year. In 2012, 2.3GW was added.

On top of that, turbine installation at the 400MW Bard Offshore 1 wind farm, and the 108MW Riffgat offshore plant were completed this year, although Riffgat hasn’t been grid-connected yet. Further turbines have been erected at the Borkum West and Dan Tysk offshore farms.

Once the turbines at Bard Offshore 1 and Riffgat are added to the already operating Alpha Ventus and Baltic 1 offshore parks, Germany’s installed offshore capacity will reach close to 620MW, about double the country’s offshore total at the end of 2012.

While northern German coastal states continued with elevated installation figures, the inland  Rhineland-Palatine in 2013 for the first time may be the state with the highest installation volume.

Turbine manufacturers and developers for a while have been betting increasingly on Germany’s southern inland states and the ability to achieve satisfactory output in moderate- and low-wind locations as tower and rotor sizes grow.

It is uncertain that the boom in inland states will continue, however.

The coalition poised to form Germany’s incoming government has said it will lower feed-in tariffs (FITs) for new onshore wind installations to diminish what it perceives to be excessive support.

While FITs are slated to go down mostly at strong wind locations, Chancellor Angela Merkel also said the new government wants to “grant privileges to good locations over not-so-good locations”, without detailing exactly down to which wind speeds adequate support will still be given.

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