Germany adds 3.5 GW onshore wind, bringing the total new installations to over 5.8 GW in 2015

With a net increase of 3,535.8 megawatts, 2015 was the second strongest year for onshore wind energy expansion in Germany. But the draft Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) 2016 does away with binding expansion targets, and will manage wind energy expansion on land by means of annually variable tendering quantities. This means uncertainty for manufacturers and operators. VDMA Power Systems and BWE are demanding that the government coordinates the EEG 2016 with the Climate Protection Plan 2050. Measures for linking the power, heating and mobility sectors must be taken into account. It is also essential to even out the onshore wind energy tendering volumes for a period of ten years.

Berlin, 27 January 2016
: The past year was good for land-based wind energy: the industry was able to install an additional net capacity of 3,535.8 megawatts in Germany, according to figures from a survey by Deutsche WindGuard commissioned by the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) and VDMA Power Systems. This is a good level of expansion. Compared with the previous year (4,385.9 megawatts), when pull-forward effects and new land designation resulted in record expansion, the net expansion fell by 19 per cent, but remains strong overall. The market analysis takes into account the dismantling of wind turbines with an installed capacity of around 195.2 megawatts, a drop of 46 per cent compared to the previous year (364.4 megawatts). The analysis lists the replacement of these in so-called repowering projects with a volume of 484.1 megawatts. Germany’s accumulated wind energy capacity was 41,651.5 megawatts at the end of 2015. In a year of strong wind, a production of 78 terawatt hours was mathematically enough to supply 20 million households and 12 per cent of Germany’s gross power consumption.

Although the figures show a healthy development, the industry is alarmed by the growing uncertainty generated by the planned EEG amendment. “For the manufacturers, quantity control by means of tendering is in principle suitable for organising further competitive expansion. The EEG 2016 contains good suggestions for securing leadership in innovation, export success and industrial production in Germany. It is however not right to regulate the expansion of renewable energy production by controlling the tendering volume for onshore wind energy and inflexibly clinging on to a 45 per cent target in the electricity sector. The expansion of wind energy on land would, according to the EEG draft, be managed by means of annually varying volumes. Such a variable low-level path for expansion would have serious consequences for Germany as a technology base. We demand that the expansion is stabilised and levelled out for a period of 10 years. We also expect the government to orient itself on the expansion path in EEG 2014. It also makes sense that EEG 2016 is defined parallel to the Climate Protection Plan 2050, so that they both contribute to achieving the goals in other energy sectors and for climate protection”, said Matthias Zelinger, managing director of VDMA Power Systems.

Industry estimates suggest that land-based wind energy experienced a worldwide market growth of at least 55,000 megawatts in 2015, an increase of more than 10 per cent over the previous year (50,000 megawatts). With a world market share of around 20 per cent, German manufacturers had and still maintain an excellent position. Around two-thirds of their 2015 production was for export. Based on numbers from 2014 by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy the German onshore wind industry directly and indirectly employed about 130,500 people, generated a turnover of 11.8 billion euros, and invested in the domestic industrial base. This good position is greatly due to the fact that the German domestic market developed so positively.

A look at the different federal states shows that Baden-Württemberg developed well in 2015. It seems that everything clicked into place there. Despite the minimum distance rules, Bavaria only experienced a moderate decrease, because construction was based on old planning applications. Expansion in North Rhine-Westphalia was positive. The big decrease in Schleswig-Holstein is also due to the uncertain development of the wind zones. “We are once again seeing that the key to expansion of land-based wind energy is legally watertight pre-planned wind zones. The preparatory work for the regional planning takes time, as does the subsequent approval procedure for individual projects. The constantly changing legal framework that takes place during the course of the planning makes it difficult for project planners to estimate the risks involved; a situation that is further aggravated by the ongoing debate about the maximum permitted expansion under the tender system. This is particularly a threat to the small players and citizens’ cooperatives that we urgently need for ground level acceptance and embedding of the energy transition. We appeal to federal government to take advantage of the exceptions permitted by Brussels for these protagonists”, said BWE president Hermann Albers.


Press contacts:

VDMA Power Systems
Catherine Diethelm
[email protected]

Bundesverband WindEnergie e.V.
Wolfram Axthelm
[email protected]