Germany has seen a record 4,750 MW increase in onshore wind capacity due to the political situation in the country in previous years along with allocation of land.
The number of turbines dismantled and replaced has also reached a record high giving the German wind industry a beneficial position in the booming global wind market. This demonstrates the effectiveness of the massive support given for the country’s energy transition by federal states.
“This has only been possible because, following the Fukushima disaster, state governments from Bavaria to Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, from Saarland to Schleswig-Holstein have set aside new areas for onshore wind generation since 2011” said BWE president Hermann Albers.
544 wind turbines with an installed capacity of around 364 MW were dismantled in 2014, resulting in a net increase of around 4,386 MW.
Lars Bondo Krogsgaard, chairman of the wind turbine steering committee at VDMA, added that 2014 saw not only record increases in new builds and the dismantling of older turbines, but also in replacement turbines with a capacity far exceeding 1,000 MW. This has enabled repowering to become a billion euro market, demonstrating the need for an increased focus on repowering in the future given the ability of up-to-date and efficient turbines to contribute significantly to grid stability. The substantial increase in turbine installation in Germany shows that the country’s energy transition is on the road to success both nationally and internationally. It has gone hand in hand with significant growth in international markets where German manufacturers are in an excellent position due to their technology leadership.
“In most federal states the opportunities for regional value creation offered by the energy transition were quickly recognised and boldly exploited” said Hermann Albers. “Land-based wind energy made another great leap forward in 2014, emphasising the fact that it is the driving force of the energy transition. The fact that the increase in installations has been so dynamic and also exceeds our forecasts is also due to the insecurity fuelled by the new distance rules in Bavaria and debate surrounding the EEG (Renewable Energy Sources Act). Continuous and less abrupt expansion of wind energy is essential for the success of manufacturing and of the energy transition, where power, mobility and heating have to be considered together.”
Estimates by VDMA Power Systems show that around 44,000 MW were installed onshore worldwide in 2014, an increase of 31 percent over 2013 (33,658 MW). Bloomberg Energy Finance has estimated the US market in 2014 to be 4,700 MW and the Chinese market 20,700 MW. Germany is on part with the US with regard to new installed capacity, and a quarter of the Chinese market. The country has benefited from a good base in the well-established European markets and German manufacturers have also been able to score well in booming markets like Turkey, South Africa, Canada, Mexico and the South American countries.
The increase in installation has had no impact on electricity prices but has played a role in ensuring that electricity for homes, businesses, commerce and industry remains affordable. The German government is aiming to reach a target of 40 to 45 percent renewables by 2025 and at least 80 percent by 2050 and Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasised this again at the German Renewable Energy Association’s New Year Reception on 14 January.
However, the government must now provide a reliable regulatory framework and must ensure that the design of the electricity market is based on flexibility being rewarded. 2015 should see a significant net increase of 3,500 to 4,000 MW while in 2016, although a decline is expected, renewables will remain at a high level.