Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Wind Country Notes
The Electricity Feed-in law (Stromeinspeisungsgesetz) was the progenitor of German wind power development in 1991. But the country's growth in wind capacity from just 110 MW at end-1991 to the present day, when it ranks as world leader, is due to further legislation in the subsequent years. In 1997, the Federal Building Code included wind turbines as 'privileged building projects'; April 2000 saw the adoption of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG); March 2001 saw the feed-in tariff model complying with the European State Aid and Competition Law, while in August 2004 the EEG was amended.
The wind industry has been so successful that the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) estimates that with over 64 000 people, it now employs more than the German coal-mining industry.
By end-2005 capacity stood at 18 428 MW, representing 17 574 turbines, and provided approximately 6% of Germany's electricity generation. By end-2006, capacity reached 20 621 MW, with the federal state of Niedersachsen leading with 5 283 MW. Although all states possess capacity, the northern states of Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Sachsen-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein constitute over 80% of installed wind power.
To date, various constraints - physical (deep water), financial and administrative - have prevented the same growth in offshore projects as has occurred onshore. There is currently one 4.5 MW offshore wind farm operating in the North Sea and two (2 MW and 2.5 MW) operating in the Baltic Sea. However, over 30 projects are either in the first phase of construction, approved or planned. Financial concerns over the repowering of older, lower-capacity turbines and finding locations for the siting of new turbines are among the problems facing the onshore wind sector.
However, in early-2007 BWE stated that development of the wind resource should see 30 000 MW capacity installed by 2010 and 48 000 by 2030. Of these figures, onshore (including repowering) would account for 24 500 MW and 28 000 MW respectively and offshore the remainder.
The EEG has provided the main motivation for the development of the German wind resource. For turbines installed in 2005, owners are paid € 0.085/kWh up to a reference output level, with reducing payments for amounts in excess. For turbines installed in subsequent years, the basic rate reduces by 2% each year, so that the price of wind energy gradually approaches the market price for electricity.
Additionally, the Environment Ministry has proposed that the German Renewable Energy Law be revised so that offshore projects would receive a payment (€ 0.091 per kWh) for their electricity output over 12 years instead of the current 9 years. At the present time the payment is restricted to those installations which started operating before 2006 but an amendment would extend this date to 1 January 2008. Further amendments would reduce payments to some onshore wind turbines.