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German Wind Market

German energy policy has been admired around the world for decades. It is now stalling due to pressure from the dirty industries. What does the future hold for the world's model energy programme?

German offshore wind power generation

In 2017 Germany added 1.4 GW to its offshore fleet, bringing the total to 1214 offshore grid-connected wind turbines in 18 large wind farms, with a total capacity of 5.06 GW, generating c. 15 TWh (in 2016 13 TWh, 2015 8.3 TWh, 80 TWh all wind) per year. The federal government plans to expand the installed capacity offshore to 6.5 GW by 2020. Currently around 20,000 people work in the German offshore industry.

The more consistent and stronger winds offshore, as well as the higher and more powerful wind turbines, give capacity factors nearly twice those of onshore wind farms. This means that for each MW installed nearly twice as much energy can be produced offshore than onshore. An 8 MW offshore turbine will generate 5 times the amount of electricity as a 3 MW onshore turbine. A single rotation of an 8MW turbine offshore will power an average German household for 29 days. Every 75 seconds, an offshore turbine generates enough electricity to supply a household for a year. 9 MW turbines were introduced by MHI Vestas Offshore Wind during 2017.

German offshore wind farms

German offshore wind farms are primarily located in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which lies outside the 12-mile zone (22.2 km from the coast). This is to conserve the natural environment of the Wadden Sea and to avoid impacts on the landscape. Due to the greater depths and distances involved, costs for building and maintaining the farms are higher than inshore wind farms, such as those in Scandanavia and the UK.

German offshore wind parks with capacities greater than 100 MW in operation at the end of 2017. They are all in the North Sea unless indicated as Baltic with OS (Ostsee) :

NameCapacity /MWNo. turbinesOperational
BARD Offshore I400802012
Veja Mate402672017
Global Tech I400802015
Wikinger (OS)353.5702017
Nordsee One332.1542017
Gode Wind 1330552017
Borkum Riffgrund 1312782015
Amrumbank West302.4802015
Nordsee Ost295.2482015
EnBW Baltic 2 (OS)288802015
Sandbank (Phase 1)288722017
Meerwind Süd/Ost288802015
Gode Wind 2252422017
Trianel Windpark Borkum (Phase 1)200402015

The average turbine size is 4.17 MW, generating 10.7 GWh each, or 2.6 GWh per installed MW capacity. This corresponds to an average capacity factor of 29.3%.

German offshore wind parks under construction:

German offshore wind price

The Renewable Energy Sources Act EEG 2014 sets the initial fee for offshore at 15.4 €c/kWh, to be paid for 12 years after commissioning. This amounts to a basic remuneration of 3.9c/kWh. As of 1 January 2018, this amount is subject to a degression of 0.5 €c/kWh each subsequent year.

Operators of offshore plants connected to the grid before 1 January 2020 have the option of the 'compensation model'. Under this scheme, they receive an increased initial fee of 19.4 €cents per kilowatt-hour in the first eight years after commissioning. The degression of the compensation is 1 €c per kilowatt-hour as of January 1, 2018.

For projects which will come online after 2021, EEG 2021 stipulates that a tendering auction will be held to encourage cost reduction. These tendering rounds began in March 2018. By the end of 2017, there were 3.1 GW of projects awarded for the period 2021-25.

Repowering involves the replacement of old turbines with fewer, larger, taller, and more-efficient and reliable machines. Some operators are switching even relatively new machines for upgraded turbines, including software improvements. The LCOE (levelised cost of energy) of wind energy fell further in 2017, as siting and maintenance know-how improved, turbines became more standardised, and became larger and more efficient.

In 2016 offshore wind provided around 18% of Germany's wind power, and 2% of all Germany's electricity demand, but both of these proportions are likely to increase rapidly.

NameCapacity /MWNo. turbinesOperational
Hohe See497