Germany’s offshore wind industry grid connected 1.11GW in offshore wind capacity last year, bringing the cumulative capacity to 7.5GW, 10 years after the first test field – the 60MW Alpha Ventus – was inaugurated in the German North Sea.
Last year was also the first time more wind power capacity was added at sea in Germany than onshore, Hermann Albers, president of the country’s wind power federation (BWE), said. Exact onshore wind figures will be published next week, but a flip to more new offshore being added would be a major shift for a nation that was traditionally a powerhouse on land before policy reverses stunted its growth.
The addition made Germany the world’s second-largest offshore wind market behind the UK not only in Europe, but world-wide, said Andreas Wagner, head of Germany’s offshore wind foundation.
Despite the success, the offshore wind sector demanded an auction very soon of a ‘special contribution’ of offshore capacity the government had promised during coalition talks in 2018 to avoid a gap in construction activity early this decade.
The sector also asked the government to live up to its promise to raise Germany’s 2030 offshore wind target to 20GW (from 15GW envisaged so far), and set a target for 2035.
“The sector for a long time has been demanding an expansion to at least 20GW by 2030, as well as an expansion path beyond that,” five German wind groups said in a joint statement.
“For that, the federal government quickly needs to create the legal framework and as a first step award free capacities of up to 2GW, to cushion off the expansion gap for the domestic industry.”
Berlin had included the new, 20GW target in a draft for legislation on the country's coal exit, but took all measures regarding renewable energy out of that proposal again, and is now playing different renewables technologies such as onshore, offshore wind and solar against each other, Albers lamented.
The wind groups presenting the figures of consultancy Deutsche WindGuard were the BWE, the offshore wind foundation, the federation of offshore wind farm operators (BWO), and VDMA Power Systems, a group representing manufacturers.
Despite the good expansion last year, Wagner said other countries – such as the UK or the Netherlands – currently have a much more pro-active policy to foster offshore wind, adding that Germany has a potential to build up to 50GW of wind at sea, despite its limited coast line.
Commenting on the German offshore figures, Danish utility Orsted also stressed that the industry needs clear targets for the time after 2030.
"The sooner, the better. Because project developers and government agencies must push forward the offshore wind expansion in accordance with the grid expansion and sector coupling," said Orsted Germany's managing director Volker Malmen.
"After all this is about the success of the German Energiewende. A planning up to the year 2050 therefore is necessary already today. In particular also in regards to the coal exit."