New German installed wind capacity advanced by 20% in 2012, helping the country’s industry see steady growth according to a recent report.
The German Wind Energy Association (BWE) and VDMA Power Systems (VDMA PS) note a total of 2,439 megawatts (MW) and 1008 wind turbines were installed in 2012. That’s an increase of 431 MW and 113 new turbines from the previous year (2,008 MW installed and 895 wind turbines in 2011).
Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein were the top federal states with 361 MW and 333 MW of new installed capacity, respectively. Meanwhile, the southern states of Rhine-Palatinate (288 MW) and Baravia (201 MW) also showed firm wind energy growth in 2012. Baden-Württemberg was at the bottom of the list of new German wind power capacity, showing 19 MW.
Meanwhile, Thorsten Herdan, Managing Director of VDMA PS, had this to say on Germany’s gains in 2012:
“Germany is a pillar of strength in a turbulent global market where wind energy is concerned. Both the expected slump of the US market in 2013 and the progressive isolation of the declining Chinese market are forcing manufacturers to focus on the European core markets. The systemic modification of the German Renewable Energy Sources Act and the electricity market design thus become all the more important. If these goals can be achieved, the framework conditions on the German domestic market will act as a model for Germany’s export markets”
When looking in the past twenty-three years, the growth of the German wind industry is quite astounding (see below graph). In 1990, there were only 55 MW of installed capacity, which is just a fraction of the new installed capacity seen in 2012. Between 2000 and 2011, a total of 22,978 MW of new wind capacity was installed, topping out at 29,075.
However, despite solid gains for the German wind market in 2012, the global wind industry could be facing some challenges this year. VDMA PS predicts a drop of 10% in the global wind market in 2013. The report noted that the US will have around 5,000 MW of new wind capacity in 2013, dramatically down from 2012’s estimated 13,200 MW. Much of the anticipated downward swing in projected new US wind capacity this year is due to the constant flux of the US wind production credit, which in early January was renewed for another one-year term.
“If wind energy is not ground up by the election campaign mills, Germany’s strong domestic market will ensure that manufacturing capacities will be ready for the expected revival of the global wind energy market from 2014 onwards,” said Herdan.
Whichever way the wind takes the German wind industry in 2013 due to some potential currents facing them, 2012 was a good year for moving wind forward as a real concrete source of energy. It will be interesting to see how Germany’s wind industry will continue to pull its self forward this year and the future.
Main Source: German Wind Energy Association