Expansion of offshore wind energy successfully continued in 2018 - industry sector calls for rapid increase of expansion targets

Expansion of offshore wind energy successfully continued in 2018 - industry sector calls for rapid increase of expansion targets

  • Total of 1,305 turbines with 6,382 MW connected to the grid | 136 turbines with almost 1 GW new in the grid | 966 MW under construction
  • Offshore wind power generation rises again significantly by around eight percent
  • Special tender of at least 1,500 MW required in the first quarter of 2019
  • Expansion volume has to be legally determined to at least 20 GW by 2030

Berlin, 21 January 2019 - Today in Berlin, the most important industry associations presented the current figures for offshore wind energy in Germany for the year 2018. Their core message is: "2019 must be the year of progress in energy policy. Offshore wind energy is of central importance for the achievement of climate protection targets and secures value creation in Germany as an industrial player". They added: "Power production from offshore wind increased by around eight percent in 2018 while costs declined, thus contributing to a stable, low-cost and clean electricity supply. With this balance and the correct and urgently needed initiative by Minister Altmaier to expand the grid, the preconditions are met for a faster expansion", said the industry representatives of BWE, BWO, Stiftung OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE, VDMA Power Systems and WAB.

Expansion according to plan - sector with positive balance

According to the latest figures published by Deutsche WindGuard, 1,305 offshore wind turbines with a total output of 6,382 MW (megawatts) fed into the grid in 2018. In this period, 136 new turbines with an output of 969 MW were connected to the grid. This confirms the forecast made last year by the industry associations. In addition, 276 MW were fully installed but have not yet fed into the grid. Furthermore, a capacity of 966 MW is currently under construction. The final investment decision has been made for another 112 MW. The legally permitted expansion of 7.7 GW (gigawatts) by 2020 will therefore probably be achieved as planned.

Raise expansion targets to at least 20 GW by 2030

The current political conditions are slowing down the further positive development of offshore wind energy in Germany. According to the coalition agreement, 65 percent of German power production is to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2030, which, however, cannot be achieved with the currently planned expansion. This was also emphasised by the call of industry and federal states to federal policy, recently at WindEnergy in Hamburg, whose statement was again underlined at today's press conference: "In order to contribute to achieving the goals of the coalition agreement, the offshore wind industry needs to expand to at least 20 GW by 2030 and at least 30 GW by 2035. The Energy Policy Agenda 2019 offers the opportunity to make forward-looking decisions this year and to complete the missing statements on offshore wind in the Omnibus Energy Act," said the industry representatives.

Combining climate policy progress with impulses in industrial policy

According to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, the offshore wind industry has invested more than 15 billion euros since 2013. The industry now needs a reliable framework and a clear political signal. To achieve this, the higher expansion volume must be put in place as quickly as possible and the planning prerequisites must be created. Insisting on the status quo costs jobs and threatens the international competitiveness of Germany as an industrial location. The current migration of qualified workers to foreign markets is a warning signal that must be taken seriously. For Germany as an industrial location, the know-how in offshore wind energy acquired over many years is an essential advantage in the growing international competition that must be maintained.

Outlook: Special contribution offshore wind in the first quarter of 2019

The associations criticized that the Omnibus Energy Act passed in December 2018 does not contain a special contribution for offshore wind energy as originally planned in the coalition agreement. The parties SPD and CDU/CSU have indeed commissioned the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency to prepare a scenario framework for offshore wind farms in the 15 to 20 GW range. However, the concrete policy measures that derive from this are completely unclear. The opportunity to launch the special contribution provided for in the coalition agreement in the first quarter of 2019 by awarding at least 1,500 MW to use the converter capacities still available should now be seized. There is also an urgent need for action regarding the test field for offshore wind energy. "There must be no further delay," said the industry representatives.

Continue to advance grid expansion, grid optimization and sector coupling

In addition to the expansion of renewable energies, the success of energy transition in Germany depends to a large extent on grid expansion and progress in sector coupling. The Federal Government should therefore give priority to the expansion of the large transmission grids, as provided for in its Action Plan Power Grids, and quickly anchor the numerous proposals for grid optimisation in law. In addition, regulatory hurdles for the further coupling of sectors should be removed swiftly.

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