Wind Energy in Germany

germany.jpgRenewable energy met 36.2% of Germany’s national electricity demand in 2017. Wind-generated electricity produced the largest share of this energy, at nearly 49%. Germany has 29,844 wind turbines, which account for nearly 56 GW of installed wind power capacity. In 2017, new installed wind power capacity was 6,759 MW, compared to 4,993 MW in 2016. New wind power capacity reached an all-time high, proving that the German Energy Transition is well underway.

Due to better wind resources in 2017, Germany’s wind sector produced 106.6 TWh of wind-generated electricity, compared to 79.9 TWh in 2016. Ongoing auctions took place with regard to the Renewable Energy Act (EEG 2017) and led to reduced bid prices for land-based wind energy and even up to zero bid strike prices offshore.

Germany pursues a broad R&D program on renewable energies and energy efficiency. Efforts for wind energy R&D include larger wind turbine components (like rotor blades and drive trains) that take into account land-based logistics requirements and offshore demands for substructures. 

To learn more about wind energy in Germany, please read the country's chapter in the IEA Wind TCP 2017 Annual Report.

National Targets

There have been no changes in the targets since 2016, when the Renewable Energy Act (EEG 2017) defined national wind energy objectives. For land-based wind, Germany expects to install 2.8 GW/yr from 2017 to 2019 and 2.9 GW/yr after 2020.

Offshore wind power capacity is expected to reach 15 GW by 2030 (0.5 GW/yr in 2021 and 2022, and 0.7 GW/yr from 2023-2025). Land-based pilot R&D turbines with a power capacity of up to 125 MW/yr are exempted from the obligatory call for bids within the EEG 2017. Those wind energy capacities will contribute to the overall goal of providing 55% to 60% renewable electricity by 2035 and at least 80% by 2050.

Operational Details

The past year was exceptional for overall renewable electricity generation, and wind energy generation in particular. Electricity provided by land-based wind power reached 88.7 TWh (up from 67.7 TWh in 2016), an all-time high; this strongly contributed to achieving a 36.2% (up from 31.6% in 2016) share of renewable electricity generation in 2017.

Offshore wind energy also increased in 2017; 1,275 MW of wind generation capacity were commissioned in 2017 (compared to 849 MW in 2016), bringing offshore wind energy capacity to 5,407 MW (4,132 MW in 2016). This led to a total 17.9 TWh of offshore wind-generated electricity, more than 46% compared to the previous year (12.3 TWh in 2016).

In total, wind energy contributed 106.6 TWh (79.9 TWh in 2016) to overall renewable electricity generation.

National R,D&D Priorities and Budget

Germany pursues a broad R&D program, rather than focusing on a specific subject. Larger turbines and components—like rotor blades and drive trains—come with larger challenges, including materials and onshore logistics, as well as offshore substructures and foundations. Test facilities also play an important role in the German R&D landscape. Digitization within turbine and wind-farm control, reliable wind turbine performance, and the forecasting of site-specific wind resources were topics of R&D projects in 2017, along with holistic considerations of social acceptance (e.g. contributing to the IEA Wind TCP Task 28).

In 2017, 95.97 million EUR (115.2 million USD) were spent on 86 new wind energy research projects supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy BMWi on the basis of a decision of the German Bundestag. Compared to 86.24 million EUR (103.4 million USD) in 2016, this continues a steady increase in funding over the past years. The 354 ongoing wind energy research projects created a funds flow of 75.11 million EUR (90.1 million USD) in 2017. All of these projects emphasize application-oriented wind energy research within the effective Sixth Energy Research Programme of the Federal Government.