Wind Energy in Germany

germany.jpgRenewable energy meets one-third of Germany's national electricity demand, with the largest share coming from wind-generated electricity. Germany has 28,217 wind turbines, which account for nearly 50 GW of installed capacity. In 2016, the new installed capacity was 4,993 MW, compared to 5,927 MW in 2015. New offshore wind power capacity declined, as expected, with an installed capacity of 4.15 GW in 2016. Due to a rather weak wind year, Germany’s wind sector produced 77.4 TWh of wind-generated electricity, compared to 79.2 TWh in 2015. The Renewable Energy Act (EEG 2017) was amended in 2016 and led to the first auctions in 2017.

R&D efforts continue to focus on increasing wind energy yields and reliability, as well as reducing costs. Projects seek to optimize production processes and develop taller towers and longer rotor blades for land-based wind energy. Offshore wake effects from the interaction between individual wind turbines and offshore windfarms are being studied, as are reducing the load on components, modifying drive trains, and increasing lifespans. In 2016, three research projects for setting up research oriented new test sites were approved in flat and complex terrain.

Policies Supporting Development

The EEG 2017 was adopted on 8 July 2016 and became operative on 1 January 2017. With the first auctions and tenders in 2017, wind energy deployment began a new era. The first offshore auctions for 1.49 GW in the German Exclusive Economic Zone’s North Sea Cluster concluded in April 2017 with the lowest bid of 0.00 EUR/kWh and the highest of 0.06 EUR/kWh (0.063 USD/kWh).

On average, the bidding price amounted to 0.0044 EUR/kWh (0.0046 USD/kWh). Grid connection costs were not included in the bidding price in Germany because grid connection is provided by the transmission system operators. Land-based community energy wind projects were also successful during the first auction in spring 2017, where 93% of bidders were granted the tender.

Renewable Energy Targets

In 2016, the Renewable Energy Act (EEG 2017) defined national wind energy objectives. For land-based wind, Germany expects to install 2.8 GW/yr from 2017-2019 and 2.9 GW/yr after 2020. Offshore capacity is expected to reach 15 GW by 2030 (0.5 GW/yr in 2021 and 2022, 0.7 GW/yr from 2022-2025, and 0.84 GW/yr from 2026 on). Land-based pilot R&D turbines with a capacity of up to 125 MW/yr are exempted of the obligatory call for bids within the EEG 2017.