Germany To Scale Back Onshore Wind Expansion To 2.8 GW Annually

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New reports have confirmed that Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has hammered out a new agreement with state leaders to restrict onshore wind expansion to 2.8 GW per year.

According to reports from Reuters and other news outlets, Angela Merkel met with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states in a meeting that stretched into the early hours of Wednesday morning to work out the framework for a new deal with state premiers to curb the speed, and therefore the cost, of the future expansion of renewable energy. Specifically, the German Government has agreed to limit the expansion of onshore wind capacity to 2.8 GW per year, which is the equivalent of around 1,000 wind turbines.

Reuters also reported that only a certain amount of new capacity will be allowed to be installed in north Germany so as to avoid overburdening the electricity grid in that region.

Upper limits have also been placed on the expansion of solar. Large-scale solar installations are now capped at 600 MW per year, however, government support for installations smaller than 750 kW will continue so as not to hamper the roll-out of rooftop solar.

“We have come a long way,” Merkel told reporters following the meeting.

Premier Carsten Sieling, of the northwest state of Bremen, said that negotiations had covered 90% of the ground necessary, presumably referring to the lack of limits on biomass or offshore wind.

Germany has long been a leading renewable energy developer, with impressive solar and wind capacity figures. Germany is one of the world’s leading providers of renewable energy jobs, though its recent climate and clean energy policies have seen it sink somewhat in rankings throughout Europe, falling to the bottom of the Big Five economies, and into a middling position of all EU member nations.

Despite the benefits to the renewable energy industry, the fast-paced expansion has had a momentary negative effect on the country’s electricity costs, with government subsidies allowing for massive expansion beyond what the nation’s grid can handle adequately.

The new framework agreement will now go to the Cabinet in the coming weeks, and state leaders are hoping it will become law at the start of 2017.

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19 thoughts on “Germany To Scale Back Onshore Wind Expansion To 2.8 GW Annually

  • How are the volume caps supposed to work when – not if – wind and solar can be installed without any incentives, simply selling PPAs to big customers or to the grid on a merchant basis? Caps on such projects (which by definition create no burden on the public purse or electricity ratepayers) would probably fall foul of EU competition law. The German government still has the illusion that it’s in control of the Energiewende. But the Visigoths are now inside the Empire and will do what they like.

    • It seems the volume caps will limit incentives. Though as costs fall, will project development and selling on a merchant basis without the incentives, be allowed?

      • Citations please. It really sounds more like this is an attempt to actually ban large solar and wind installations which exceed the “cap”.

        Suppose Siemens (or whoever) decides to install a giant solar farm and wind turbines on their own factory property to cut their utility bills. But the “cap” has already been reached for the year. Will Siemens be allowed to put up their panels and turbines?

        It sounds like this is a ban. If it is, it’s gross and has to be fought. And it is almost certainly a violation of EU law.

        • A cite for a question? Who will I cite – why yes, the framer of the question? (OK Jeff do you think that is a valid question – sure Jeff)

          Yes, it’s a good question – see Cleantechnica conversation 6/2/16, 6:46 PST between Jeff and Jeff!

          Cites from James comment?

          • Look, these are leaks from an ongoing high-level negotiation, not an official announcement. The devil will be in the details.

            The participants are by now well-informed. Can you see Schleswig-Holstein, which has wind targets greatly exceeding its own consumption, accepting a cap that extends beyond incentives and bans market-driven installation?

            Lightsource have already started installing solar farms in the UK for private-wire PPA contracts (link). Everywhere in Germany has better sun than Belfast. The problem is to find large electricity customers who can’t get the handout to “export industries”.

          • I don’t know what Schleswig-Holstein would accept; I’ve seen weirder stuff happen in political deals when the state governments get bribed.

          • Sorry, I thought you said that it *seems* the volume caps will limit incentives, and I wasn’t sure why it seemed that way, since it seemed to me like a ban on installations after the cap is reached!

          • Actually it’s a refreshing change. We seem to agree so much, it was getting monotonous!

            There is such a narrow zone of effective market price signals, that incentives new and old, could result in something that I can’t anticipate.

            Somewhere between voters looking at both cleaner energy and a fear of nuclear, led by farmers looking to self generate, sell power, and get out from under the big energy status quo – and the commercial and energy interests that refuse to pay a single dime beyond their immediate, internally generated strategic interests, lies the path Germany will negotiate.

  • This is dumb. Instead of limiting generation, plan transmission and distribution with generation. This was Germanys mistake and its a repeated one in many locations.
    The problem is that the whole power system must be reckoned with any time generation is added. It might be possible that less generation is needed with more transmission also.
    Beyond that, a regional planning approach is necessary. No more country specific viewpoints in this. EU needs to have a EU wide approach to power.

  • Article leaves me thinking about how the arguments against renewable energy were framed so as to hinder renewable energy growth. I understand Merkel has always been a fossil fuel and nuclear advocate that bended when pushed by the populace to accept renewable. So what gives?

  • So Germany is now banning installation of wind and solar in excess of an arbitrary cap?!? What the hell? That’s the sort of bullshit which HECO tried to pull in Hawaii.

    Is this actually right? Or are they just setting a limit on how much wind & solar can get incentives?

    Because I think it runs afoul of EU competition law to ban wind and solar installations.

    Please do more research to discover whether this is actually an attempt to ban private, unsubsidized installations after the “cap” is reached. (For example, if a factory decides to build its own large solar farm to cut its own electric bills.)

    If this is being done, it needs to be fought in every way possible, and it’s in violation of EU law.

    • This is about throttling back, so they don’t hit 2025 targets too early (and aren’t already spending 2025 budgets).
      Its also about the grid -German grids (there isn’t a single one like UK) have not yet been upgraded, crucially the north south link has been delayed by nimbyism…

      • Seriously? I *know* that’s a violation of the EU competition directives. Spain attempted to implement a “self-consumption tax” and there’s multiple ongoing lawsuits at the EU level over Spain’s action, which Spain is almost certainly going to lose. It’s one of the reasons the Rajoy government is losing the elections.

        Germany is seriously copying Spain’s insane tax on the sun? This is very bad news. Merkel needs to be removed from office immediately. At a minimum.

        This is basically treason and she should actually be executed for it.

        Unbelievable behavior by the German government.

  • And why repeat the lie about negative impact on energy prices? Germany wholesale prices have dropped like a rock. Yes, the government as restricted the saving to selected industries. But that was easy way to get support to it’s industry without people noticing.

    Surely this is about capping the government support, notice this line.
    “Upper limits have also been placed on the expansion of solar. Large-scale solar installations are now capped at 600 MW per year, however, government support for installations smaller than 750 kW will continue so as not to hamper the roll-out of rooftop solar.”

  • In other German energy news yesterday the EU commission approved the plan to spend money on putting 8 German lignite plants on the reserve, with last closing now by October 2019 (I will try and add link later).
    (Money goes to owners in compensation lost earnings from generation)

    • Thanks for the interesting link.

Comments are closed.