Germany’s five coastal states and the federal government, together with transmission system operators (TSOs) 50Hertz, Amprion and TenneT, have agreed to raise the country’s 2030 offshore wind target to 20GW from 15GW previously envisaged.

Federal economics minister Peter Altmaier in principle already last fall had approved raising the target in order to reach Germany’s ambitious 2030 climate and renewable energy targets, but infighting in the coalition in Berlin as well as the predominance of the containment of Covid-19 had kept the government from enshrining the higher target into legislation.

According to the deal with the states of Lower Saxony, Bremen, Hamburg, Schleswig Holstein and Mecklenburg Vorpommern, the 20GW target and measures on how to reach it will now be stated in amendments to the Wind Energy at Sea Act to be passed during the first half of this year.

The higher target should also be linked to Germany’s build-up of a green hydrogen economy, according to Lower Saxony’s energy minister Olaf Lies.

“We need a consequent expansion of the hydrogen industry. We cannot and most not directly transmit every kilowatt hour of electricity produced,” Lies said.

“The production of green hydrogen at the coast and later also at sea is an essential part of a successful Energiewende (energy transition). We have only considered the electricity sector for too long. But it is industry and also great parts of mobility that can opt for green hydrogen as an important resource.”

Green hydrogen can also be a chance to story energy and de-couple production and consumption, Lies added.

Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity in electrolysers.

Germany’s federal government is also overdue in its presentation of a national hydrogen strategy soon, which the country’s neighbor, the Netherlands, has already done.

German state and federal governments and the TSOs agreed on several measures to reach the 20GW offshore wind target.

Among them is asking the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) to expand Germany’s maritime zoning plan, and to speed up planning and permitting procedures for wind at sea.

The economics and energy ministry published a 'controlling' time-table that specifies when each new converter station, direct current cable on land and at sea, as well as platforms in wind farms needs to be completed. (link to the time-table here).

Also, TSOs will switch to 525 kilovolt cabling technology as opposed to the 320kV common so far in order to a higher volume of electricity to be transmitted to the coast. TenneT in late April had already said it will ask cable manufacturers to develop 2GW “next level” subsea cables using 525kV technology.