Offshore Wind Energy

Published on June 23rd, 2014 | by Jake Richardson


100% Renewable Electricity Will Be Achieved In German State Soon

June 23rd, 2014 by  

Germany’s windiest area, Schleswig-Holstein, will probably achieve “100% renewable electricity” sometime this year. That is, its clean energy production will be able to supply all of its electricity consumption. Schleswig-Holstein has a goal to generate 300% of its electricity consumption with renewables eventually. This mostly rural area is grid-connected, so it can sell excess electricity and still use conventional power during periods when wind is not available.

The small state has about 7,000 wind power employees and the wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has facilities there. A German Wind Association report pegged the offshore wind power capacity by 2030 at about 25,000 MW and 4,000-6,000 MW for onshore. Wind power is such a significant part of  the culture that there is a Master’s degree in Wind Engineering program available. (The area borders Denmark to the north and is between the North and Baltic seas.)


Schleswig-Holstein via Shutterstock

Eight years ago, it was reported that the state generated about 30% of its electricity from wind power, so there has been much progress.

Getting to 100% renewable electricity is a huge achievement, but it wouldn’t be a complete first in Germany. One German village produces over 300% of its electricity from renewables. The village of Feldheim gets all its energy from renewable sources as well, mostly wind and biogas. (Thousands of tourists have visited to see its green technology.)

There are over 190 clean energy sites in Germany, so many that a green destinations guide for tourists was written and sold out in its first printing. It will be curious to see if Schleswig-Holstein begins to attract more green tourists.

This article is dedicated to my grandmother who never went to Schleswig-Holstein, Germany but lived most of her life in the Holstein, Iowa, area and was one of the best people you would ever meet. She is 99 and in hospice.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

Hello, I have been writing online for some time, and enjoy the outdoors. If you like, you can follow me on Google Plus.

  • Guest

    Wait until you comes to Australia. So much sun, so much coal, so many politicians with their head firmly lodged up their behind.

  • Shanto

    Does anyone know what advancements they’ve made in improving their electricity generation from 30% to 300%? I’ve heard that using more of the land by installing more windmills(?) has helped, but I guess I’m more curious about the advancements that might have increased their efficiency and capturing methods such as redesigning of the blades, height of the windmills, etc.

  • David K Clarke

    Mid North South Australia – 889MW of installed wind power, that’s 21,000 Watts per person!

    • Bob_Wallace

      What’s the capacity factor? Even at a low 20% that’s ~ 4 kWh per person which ain’t shabby.

      • David K Clarke

        Capacity factor is the percentage of the installed capacity that is actually achieved. Ie. If a 3MW wind turbine generates an average of 1MW over the long term that’s a CF of 33%.


    Soundbites are great aren’t they , well here’s a couple more… Wales would need a land mass three times the size totally covered with wind turbines to meet it’s own energy needs and Germany is now burning more coal than ever!

    • Bob_Wallace

      ​Barry, please give us numbers to support your extremely doubtful claims.
      Show us you’re not shoveling FUD.

      • BARRY KENT
        • Bob_Wallace

          OK, we got it. You seek out flawed newspaper articles.

          “The figures show just how little electricity giant turbines produce at certain times bolstering claims by critics that wind turbines cannot be relied upon to provide a constant source of electricity.”

          Perhaps no one has explained to you that it makes no sense to power a grid with any single renewable source (unless you’re a company like Paraguay with massive hydro).

          Yes, there are times that onshore wind is low. And there are times when solar is low. But mix them together with other renewable sources and storage then you get a reliable grid.

          Seek better information, Barry. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Oh, I see. You were misled by a BS article.

        Germany’s coal use has been dropping. The 2013 stuff is nothing more than noise in the system. Take a look at how much coal Germany is burning per capita. “More that ever”? Clearly that’s a massive misstatement.

        What actually happened is that the price of NG rose and Germany burned more coal but less NG. Overall, Germany burned less fossil fuels. (Second graph)

        And let’s look at how things are going in 2014 just for fun. (Third graph)

  • Bob_Wallace

    Your link, Davy? It’s full of brown smelly stuff.

    “These prices have taken their toll upon the middle class, creating chaotic supply challenges and have directly contributed to nationwide job losses.”

    A picture that shows this claim to be a pile of bull is at the bottom.

    “In order to move the program forward, Germany’s leadership is now grappling to balance renewable energy subsidies with affordable energy.”

    Wind and solar have lowered the wholesale cost of electricity in Germany. Picture at the bottom.

    The fossil fuel industry is grappling with a way to push back renewables.

    “Like many countries, once promising advances in nuclear technologies have suddenly taken a backseat after Fukushima. Unlike America, Europe has not been able to transition to natural gas, thereby leaving countries like Germany suddenly facing an enormous energy deficit, which experts and pundits alike suddenly agree cannot be replaced by renewables, such as wind or solar.”

    Experts employed by the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. Obviously renewables are doing a very good job replacing the closed nuclear plants. In fact, Germany just canceled a planned coal plant because they simply didn’t need its power.

    Here’s how Germany’s industry is doing, contrary to the POS article you linked…

    “Capacity utilization is high at present,” the analysts write, adding that “manufacturing output in Germany looks set to grow by four percent in real terms in the full year” of 2014. Exports to Western Europe are picking up, but Deutsche Bank says global growth is sluggish – though that is keeping inflation down at 1.1 percent in the first half of 2014, despite the “good labor market situation.”

  • Quiet_Think

    “That is, its clean energy production will be able to supply all of its electricity consumption.”

    This is possibly the most ill informed, ignorant statement I have read about Germany and renewable power.

    Please learn more about solar and wind power generation before writing another article. Renewables are not even close to generating all their power. That is why they are building coal plants. You make the common mistake of confusing momentary capacity with actual electrical energy generation over time.

    • A Real Libertarian

      It’s perfectly accurate.

      Schleswig-Holstein is not the same as Germany.

      Your comment is pretty typical of Fallout Boys that I’ve seen.

      Spectacularly ignorant (Schleswig-Holstein? Germany? What’s the difference?)

      Utterly arrogant (those greens don’t know anything how electricity works).

      And fanatically unwilling to learn (you’re going to hand-wave this comment and continue claiming the article is wrong).

      • Quiet_Think

        Even with that distinction, when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining, the state is getting some power from non renewables. So the title of the article is wrong to start with.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Soon – now.

          Different words. Different meanings.

        • Tom Street

          I think the statement about 100% renewables will be accurate when the amount of renewables they export is equal to the fossil fuel energy that they import or otherwise use. Yes, there are probably times of the day where electricity from fossil fuels will be used but their total generation of renewables will be at least equal to their total consumption.

          Semantics aside, this is a remarkable achievement and there will be times when the consumption of fossil fuels elsewhere will be reduced by the amount of renewables supplied.

          It is not perfect but they have made a giant step forward.

          The headline may be inaccurate but the substance of the article is good news.

          Yes, there are storage issues which eventually need to be dealt with but a regional or cross regional approach to ubiquitous solar and wind energy can go a long way to reduce the amount of storage.

  • Paul F Getty

    Very exciting. Just think what the US could be doing if we didn’t have the fossil fuel industry, like Exxon and the Koch brothers, controlling our state and federal policies, and confusing the facts of clean energy and global warming in our industry. Think what we could have done with the trillions spent on useless wars for oil resources.
    We have got to get industry out of politics and right wing politicians out of office.

  • Bob_Wallace

    German coal plants have to go through a process of getting permission from the government to close. To date 28 plants have applied for permission to shut down.

    As of last November 12 coal plants have been given permission to go out of business and be torn down. Five are in an area where backup capacity is sparse, so they will probably be closed but not decommissioned. They will receive some money to stay available if their power is needed sometime in the next few years. The other 11 were still under review.

    In addition, six of the planned plants which were to have been built have been canceled.

    Germany sells a lot of power to other countries. If that weren’t the case then Germany could close many more of its fossil fuel plants. You can get a feel for that from the graph below. The top/brown portion of each bar is created by power export. Looking only at the bottom/grey portion its clear that Germany is lowering fossil fuel use for domestic purposes. (With some temporary uptick due to speeding the closure of nuclear plants.)

    • Bob_Wallace

      Just found some more information for you. A comparison of first half 2014 to first half 2013.

      Fossil fuels down. Renewables up.

      Germany is on track to get 27% of its electricity from non-hydro renewables in 2014. More than from lignite for the first time.

  • Chris Marshalk

    I wish Australia was up to German Standards but the reality is – We have a Mentally Sick Prime Minister “Tony Abbott” who wants to destroying “ALL” green technology. Disgusted in our PM. 🙁

    • petethebear51

      We’ve even read about this fool’s misguided efforts which have been posted in the SF Chronicle, Chris. Sad, truly sad that the Australian people have been steered backwards by this joke of a politician. Have courage, have faith and VOTE !!

      • Chris Marshalk

        Thank You for those Kinds words. I’m looking at Solar Panels in the near future for my own home 🙂 Hopefully we’ll have a change of Government soon. – Go Green !!!

    • Tom Street

      Well, the entire Republican party in the United States is mentally ill with respect to renewable energy.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Not totally. Some of the Republican governors from conservative states have lobbied for continued funding for wind. And the Georgia Tea Party has worked to get solar on their grid.

        Republicans are greatly influenced by personal gain. Some of them are able to determine that there’s money to be made/saved with renewables.

        • Tom Street

          Good point. But I have not heard a Republican politician in years acknowledge that global warming was a problem or even a reality as it relates to man made carbon emissions. Maybe there are a few but they appear to be mute at this point.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Agreed that they are mostly mute. They are forced into that position because a large part of their base are stupid.

            There’s an interesting ex senator from South Carolikna named Bob Inglis who lost his seat largely because he acknowledged climate change.

            Since then he’s spent his time talking to other Republicans about climate change and why we much take steps to minimize it. At one point he said that a significant number of Republican Congress members accepted the facts of climate change but felt that they couldn’t make that public and stay in office.

            Here’s an interesting interview with him…


          • Mandy Sue

            I don’t think I’ve heard of a single one. Who is this republican who is not in the pocket of oil and coal?? Voting matters.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You’ll have to look state by state. I haven’t found a simple list of members and their party affiliation, but you’ll notice a lot of red states.

            Sam Brownback (Kansas) and Dennis Daugaard (South Dakota) are a couple.


  • johnnyags

    So what’s their kWh rate?

    • Bob_Wallace

      Germany’s wholesale electricity price is falling. Rather abruptly. (Graph below.)

      Germany’s industrial electricity has been falling since 2009. It’s now lower than the EU27 average. (Table.)

      Germany’s retail electricity price is high, but that is due not to the cost of electricity rather taxes placed on top of the cost of electricity.

      Anti-renewable people like to talk about how less the French pay for electricity, but that’s not something that will hold. France is coasting on mostly paid off nuclear plants. Their high costs came during the payoff time (although most was hidden and not charged in the monthly rates).

      Recently the French government announced that production costs for nuclear energy have risen to 8.1 US cents per kWh which is higher than Germany’s production (~wholesale) rate.

      • johnnyags

        So why does the government tax it so much? Is it to subsidize the wind industry. If so, then that kWh rate, which is double what I pay without the taxes, would in effect by TRIPLED because of this “clean” energy. So for the sake of not really benefitting the environment, you’ve tripled the punch to my budget. Doesn’t seem smart.

        • Bob_Wallace

          First, a large part of the tax on retail electricity in Germany has nothing at all to do with wind or any other renewable energy. Let’s look at a breakdown of German retail electricity costs.

          8.0 cent – Power Generation & Sales
          6.5 cent – Grid Service Surcharge

          5.3 cent – Renewable Energy Surcharge
          0.7 cent – Other Surcharges (CHP-Promotion, Offshore liability,…)

          In addition there are some taxes & fees that go straight into the governments budget:

          2.1 cent – EcoTax (federal government)
          1.8 cent – Concession fees (local governments)
          4.6 cent – Value added tax (19% on all of the above) – (federal, state & local governments)

          So 8 + 6.5 or 14.5 euro cents go to electricity purchase and delivery. About 19 US cents. That’s higher than the US 12.5 cent average, but less than a penny higher than New York and Connecticut.

          8.5 euro cents per kWh are not related to renewable energy. Many European countries have put high non-utility taxes on electricity and gasoline/diesel in order to get people to conserve.

          5.3 euro cents per kWh go to pay for the FiT (feed in tariff) that was used to get people to install solar when solar was very expensive. The rate is unfairly high for retail customers as industrial customers pay none of those taxes while enjoying the dropping price of electricity (table in my previous comment).

          • Bob_Wallace

            Now, I get the feeling that you might have moved from the price/taxes in Germany to US wind support. So let me say a bit about that.

            Yes, we are spending money to subsidize renewable energy and efficiency. In 2012 we spent $16 billion.

            We also spend about $1 billion per day to deal with the external costs of coal. Close to $400 billion a year. About 25x per day more than we spend on all renewable and efficiency support. (And a lot of that money goes to large corporate corn farms.)

            As we increase the role of renewables and cut electricity use through efficiency we lower our use of coal. As we cut our use of coal we save money on coal’s externals (health and environmental damage).

            We’re spending small money in order to save big money. That’s wise investing.

        • Julie Daniels

          It’s not all about cost. More importantly it’s being able to live in health in our world. Surely we won’t destroy the planet because of a financial concept?

        • Daddy Love

          Oh, I don’t know, maybe because global atmospheric carbon levels are hitting 400 ppm, compared to our pre-Industrial-Revolution level of 280 ppm. This is a level not seen since before genus Homo ever existed, not since about 5MYA. At that level, what was the world like?
          Global average temperatures were 3 to 4 degrees C warmer than today (5.4 to 7.2 degrees F).
          Polar temperatures were as much as 10 degrees C warmer than today (18 degrees F).
          The Arctic was ice free.
          Sea level was between five and 40 meters higher (16 to 130 feet) than today.
          Coral reefs suffered mass die-offs.
          And we’re increasing the atmospheric carbon level a minimum of 10x faster than it has ever occurred before. Can you say 1000 ppm within 10 years? This stuff is not good. Earth will be fine, but humans civilization will likely suffer irreparable damage.

          Sources: and linked pages.

      • Daddy Love

        Good job.

  • Great News. Germany is advancing in Renewables especially Wind and solar.
    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

  • tibi stibi

    i wish holland was as smart as the germans are 🙁

    • No way

      Look at it from the bright side… in the EU-28 you have a higher percentage of renewables of total energy than Malta, Luxembourg, the UK and…oh… well that’s it. Until Luxembourg and Malta puts up like one wind turbin and 100 solar panels each and overtakes you. 🙂

      • tibi stibi

        thanks.. for a country which is famous for its windmills it is pathetic

        • No way

          It is…it truly is.

    • JdH

      I’m from Holland, so I know how you feel. But wait until you come to Australia. So much sun, so much coal, so many politicians with their head firmly lodged up their behind. Compared to ‘straya, The Netherlands is an eco dome.

    • Chrisaroo

      I just wish leaders of most countries weren’t so flippin stupid and spineless towards corporations

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