Expansion of wind turbines on land is progressing faster

Status: 02.11.2021 09:30 a.m.

The expansion of wind power on land has progressed significantly faster this year than in the comparable period of 2020. In order to achieve the energy transition targets, professional associations are calling for the expansion to be accelerated further.

The expansion of onshore wind power has progressed significantly faster in Germany since the beginning of the year than in the comparable period of 2020. According to the onshore wind energy agency, 345 systems with a total capacity of around 1.4 gigawatts were connected to the grid between January and September 2021. That is an increase of more than 50 percent compared to the first nine months of last year. The expansion of wind power already achieved in the current year thus roughly corresponds to the capacity installed in 2020 as a whole.

Two gigawatts possible in 2021

Hermann Albers, President of the German Wind Energy Association, believes it is possible that the mark of two gigawatts of newly commissioned wind power capacity will be reached in 2021 as a whole. But a strong fourth quarter is necessary for this, Albers told the dpa news agency.

The wind turbines that have been connected to the grid since the beginning of the year are distributed very differently from region to region. With 76 new wind turbines, Brandenburg is the front runner in the statistics, ahead of Lower Saxony (71), North Rhine-Westphalia (50) and Schleswig-Holstein (48). In the state of Bavaria, the largest in terms of area, there were only eight new plants. The net expansion, i.e. the overall increase in wind power output, is only 1.2 gigawatts, however, because a number of plants have been shut down in the current year.

Demands on politics

Even if two gigawatts of additional wind power were to be achieved on land in the current year, the value would still be far below the targets for the energy transition in Germany. According to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), around 71 gigawatts should be installed on land in Germany by 2030. According to the Federal Environment Agency, this would require an additional four to seven gigawatts per year.

According to Albers, more space would have to be made available for this quickly. It is therefore essential “that the new federal government sets a clear premise here. Two percent in every federal state must be made mandatory”. Otherwise, Albers warns of electricity bottlenecks in the coming years, especially in the south of the country. The demand for two percent of the land area also corresponds to the goals of the parties SPD, Greens and FDP in their exploratory paper on the possible formation of a traffic light coalition.

Offshore expansion is slow

In contrast to the expansion of wind power on land, the “offshore” expansion of wind energy, that is, of the offshore wind turbines, has stalled in the current year. In 2021, according to the Federal Wind Energy Association, there will be no expansion of offshore wind energy for the first time in ten years. In 2014, the federal government significantly reduced the expansion targets for wind power in the sea, out of concern that high electricity prices could annoy citizens.

In the meantime, however, the requirements have been screwed up again: 20 gigawatts should be installed by 2030. By 2040, the output should even be doubled to 40 gigawatts. In the meantime, however, many providers have withdrawn from the market or have migrated abroad. One of the largest wind power companies, Siemens Gamesa, is currently mainly delivering to Great Britain, the Netherlands and Taiwan.


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