Germany’s Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) has presented its new site development plan for offshore wind that is a prerequisite to reach the European nation’s target of building out its North and Baltic Sea wind power fleet to 30GW by 2030, while laying the foundation for much more capacity only five years later.

The Social Democrat-Green-Liberal government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz in November had agreed to attempt to add an additional 10GW to the target laid down in its Wind at Sea Act of 40GW by 2035. Berlin's long-term goal is 70GW by 2045. All those targets are considered very ambitious, given that Germany’s cumulated offshore wind capacity at the end of last year stood at only 8.1GW.

“The expansion of offshore wind energy is a mammoth task,” economics and climate minister Robert Habeck said.

“In addition to the offshore agreement from last November, the BSH site development plan is another part of our master plan to achieve the high goals for the expansion of renewable energies.

“With the publication, we show that we are serious about planning acceleration and are consistently advancing the expansion of renewable energies. Within a very short time, we are creating reliable framework conditions for ramping up all necessary capacities."

The new site development plan is counting on wind developers being able to push through a faster deployment at sea after the government in Berlin last year has given offshore wind the status of ‘overriding public interest’, which it believes will speed up permitting and lower environmental hurdles.

In order to accelerate the expansion, the BSH has not only identified new far offshore wind areas in Germany’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but also tried to squeeze in more capacity in already existing zones.

The current site development plan thus points to a total capacity of 36.5GW that can be tendered off in coming years, although in some of those areas a preliminary site investigation still needs to be carried out.

The plan is also laying a foundation for a European offshore power grid in which some wind farms can be interconnected. The BSH for that has drawn on results from the North Seas Energy Cooperation initiative.

Germany’s economics and climate ministry also said the site development plan has set aside offshore wind areas for green hydrogen production that can be linked to shore via a dedicated pipeline, and are large enough to provide 1GW of electrolyses capacity.