German offshore surges to 2.78GW as industry seeks reassurance, By Bernd Radowitz Recharge News in Berlin July 20 2015
The DanTysk project in the German North Sea was one of the projects to swell the country's capacity
Germany’s offshore wind sector grid-connected more turbines in the first half of 2015 than in its entire history so far – but the industry has warned the government over lack of clarity on upcoming tenders and the rate of future network expansion.
A combined 1.77GW of capacity was grid-connected from January to June, pushing Germany's accumulated online offshore capacity to 2.78GW, able to supply roughly three million German households with electricity, Deutsche WindGuard said.
The research company calculated the figures on behalf of national wind federation BWE, VDMA Power Systems, the energy arm of German engineering federation VDMA, and three offshore wind groups.
Another 90 turbines, or 380.7MW of capacity, are fully in place and waiting for a grid-connection, while foundations for a further 84 turbines have been installed.
The industry expects a total of around 2.25GW to be feeding into the grid for the first time this year off Germany's North and Baltic Sea coasts, likely bringing the total grid-connected capacity to 3.3GW by year-end.
That would already be half of Germany's 6.5GW offshore wind target for 2020.
"The expansion continues with additional projects: nine projects comprising turbines with a total capacity of 704.4MW are under construction. The final investment decisions are on the table for five more projects with 1,482.8MW," said Jörg Buddenberg, chair of the working group for Offshore Wind Energy AGOW.
Adding wind parks already in construction and those with a final investment decision to the already-installed capacity, the industry reaches 82% of the government's 6.5GW target.
With 2.48GW, most of the grid-connected capacity is in the North Sea, while 310MW is in the Baltic Sea, where German coastal waters are much more limited.
Jörg Kuhbier, chairman of the Offshore Wind Energy Foundation, cautioned that a continuous grid growth is needed for the future expansion of offshore generation, saying that the latest draft of Germany's Offshore Grid Development Plan (O-NEP) doesn't foresee sufficient new grid capacity.
"The smaller the number of grid connection systems with available capacity, the more limited is the competition between the projects within the scope of future calls for tender," Kuhbier said.
"The reduction of electricity generation costs that is meant to be achieved through competition would be made unnecessarily difficult if the grid ends up as a bottleneck again."
The industry also wants the government in Berlin to announce the rules for future offshore wind tenders soon to be able to plan accordingly. As Rechargefirst reported earlier this year, Germany plans offshore wind tenders to start as soon as late next year.
"The offshore wind industry will already need clarification of the tendering design in 2016 so that expansion can be continually moved forward," says Norbert Giese, chair of the VDMA steering committee for the offshore wind industry and chair of wind energy agency WAB. Giese is also vice president for offshore at Germany-based turbine manufacturer Senvion.
"To avoid a stop-and-go situation in the market, it is also imperative to create clear rules for the transition from fixed-rate remuneration to a competitive tendering process for every model. We will keep value creation and employment in Germany, and expand through additional exports," Giese added.