Published on May 1st, 2019 | by Joshua S Hill0
German Onshore Wind Installations Plummet 87% In First Quarter
May 1st, 2019 by Joshua S Hill
Only 41 wind turbines with a combined output of 134 megawatts (MW) were installed in Germany in the first quarter of 2019, plummeting 87% from the same quarter a year earlier, according to figures released on Monday by German consultancy FA Wind.
Non-profit wind association FA Wind (Fachagentur Windenergie an Land) published an analysis of master commissioning figures for Germany’s onshore wind industry and found only 41 turbines were installed through the first quarter, coming to a total of only 134 MW.
According to FA Wind, this “drastic slump” is a “temporary low point” of a larger decline which has been increasing for a year now. In the second quarter of 2018, onshore wind expansion was one-third below the average for the same quarter between 2015 and 2017.
In a way, however, these figures are unsurprising considering how onshore wind has been fairing in recent Government-run tenders.
Already this year, onshore wind has struggled to compete. In the most recent onshore wind-specific tender held in February, only 476 MW of capacity was awarded of an available 700 MW. At the same time, Germany’s parallel solar-specific tender was oversubscribed by two and a half times.
This trend continued in April when the German Government announced the winners from its joint technology tender for solar and onshore wind projects. The 200 MW tender was heavily oversubscribed at 719.5 MW, and 210 MW was awarded — but only to solar.
The only bright spot from all this is that the problem has already been diagnosed, as Giles Dickson, CEO of European wind energy trade body WindEurope, explained in February:
“This is now the 3rd German onshore wind auction in a row that’s been under-subscribed,” Dickson explained. “It’s clear the permitting process is not fit for purpose. It’s taking longer and longer to get a permit. The Bundesländer are reluctant to identify new locations for wind farms. And even if wind farms do get a permit, many then get caught up in legal disputes, which is pushing up costs.
“The German Government needs to take urgent action to make permitting easier. And the Bundesländer need to identify appropriate new zones for onshore wind. If they don’t, auctions will continue to be under-subscribed, and prices will remain higher than they should be. And this will jeopardise Germany’s target of 65% renewables in electricity by 2030.”
Conversely, FA Wind found that the licensing situation in Germany had improved slightly in the first quarter, with 111 new wind turbines totaling 413 MW approved — an increase of 33% compared to the same quarter in both 2017 and 2018. However, according to FA Wind, “no significant upward trend can be deduced from this, as developments in the past four quarters have been characterized more by wave movements.”