Europe may have recently raised its 2030 wind power target to 480GW — up from 190GW installed today — but the German deputy climate minister, Patrick Graichen, told WindEurope 2022 that he doubts there will be enough turbine manufacturing capacity available to meet that demand.

He made his comment to a conference panel in Bilbao on Tuesday, the day before Chancellor Olaf Scholz's cabinet approved the so-called Easter Package of legislative measures to boost Germany’s renewable power share to 80% by 2030 (from 42% last year).

The European Commission raised its own wind power targets as part of its REPowerEU plan last month — a response to the invasion of Ukraine and the bloc's over-reliance on Russian gas.

To reach such ambitious wind targets, two issues need to be resolved — the slow speed of permitting and for there to be enough manufactured capacity to meet demand, said Graichen, the politically appointed state secretary, who was formerly the head of German think-tank Agora Energiewende.

“First, is the industry ready to produce these amounts?” he asked, pointing to low German wind installation rates in recent years that have crippled the country’s manufacturing base — with Nordex recently having to announce the closure of its rotor blade plant in Rostock, northern Germany.

“We are now entering a world where we have more need of renewables than there are manufacturing capacities,” Graichen said.

What do the OEMs think?

Wind OEMs — which have been suffering financially in recent times — have made it clear to Recharge that there is great hesitation to build new factories without guarantees for a large pipeline of projects and secure volumes of new wind capacity.

“We need, as an industry, a stable volume... [to be added annually] at “a reasonable LCOE [levelised cost of energy],” GE Renewable Energy offshore chief executive Jan Kjaersgaard told a panel in Bilbao.

José Luis Jimeno, president of Vestas Mediterranean, made a similar comment at a different WindEurope 2022 panel.

“We can ramp up [production] quickly provided the right circumstances,” he said, but added, “We need to have the stability that volumes are coming up.”

Graichen tried to offer some assurances about future turbine demand by stating “we will now have auction volumes going up to 10GW”, although he didn’t specify a time frame, or whether that was for onshore or offshore wind.