German wind power additions rose by a quarter last year, but sector groups demand further measures by the government to speed up deployment, including much faster permitting.

Developers have installed 2.4GW in new wind energy capacity in 2022, up from 1.9GW a year earlier, figures by consultancy Deutsche WindGuard show that were commissioned by wind energy federation BWE and manufacturers’ association VDMA Power Systems.

As 266MW were decommissioned, net additions reached 2.1GW last year, pushing the cumulated onshore wind capacity in Europe’s largest economy to 58.1GW. For 2023, the wind sector expects onshore additions of between 2.7 and 3.2GW, unless deployment can be accelerated.

While climate minister Robert Habeck last year pushed through a flurry of laws and regulation to speed up the wind power expansion, more must be done to reach a faster and bigger build-up, the wind groups urged.

“Wind turbine additions on land last year continued to be too low. To reach an expansion path that is sufficient to achieve targets and reliable for wind turbine manufacturers, above all, areas must be made available, permit bottlenecks overcome, transport facilitated and certification hurdles removed for towers of turbines,” VMDA Power Systems managing director Dennis Rendschmidt said.

He added that the wind industry won’t achieve the necessary production ramp-up through political targets, but with approved projects.

Hermann Albers, president of the BWE, which represents the wider wind sector, said last year’s expansion was still fed by projects awarded in tenders from 2019 to 2021, which had “sobering” results due to mistakes in energy policy during the past government of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“They [the expansion figures] are symptomatic of the political mismanagement of the last federal government,” Albers said.

The current Social Democrat-Green-Liberal coalition of Chancellor Olaf Scholz had used its first year in office to “set the course in many areas for the significantly accelerated expansion of renewable energies”, particularly wind power, he added.

Albers pointed to a record volume of 12.8GW in wind capacity slated to be tendered off this year, but cautioned that German states now also must make use of the opportunities they were given to speed up deployment.

“The South in particular must finally deliver and must no longer shirk responsibility.”

The comment was a hint on a very damaging distance rule for onshore wind in Bavaria – Germany’s largest state by land mass – which had brought wind capacity additions in the southern state to a near standstill in recent years. Conservative-led Bavaria has now watered down its distance rule, but is still delaying federal regulation to set aside about 2% of its land mass for wind power development.

Albers said measures taken by the federal government – such as a recent increase in the bid price cap at onshore wind tenders (to take into account inflation) or a reduction of minimum distances to radar installations – were important first steps to reach ambitious targets. But Berlin now also must follow up on a commitment to present legislation to speed up and simplify permitting.

The government should also ease rules for repowering projects, he demanded, which last year accounted for 423MW in new capacity, compared to many gigawatts that could be achieved.