The latest German onshore wind tender has again been significantly undersubscribed, awarding only 270 megawatts (MW) of a tendered volume of 650 MW, with state permitting again held up as the defining factor constraining results.
Much has been made recently of the failing state of Germany’s onshore wind sector. This has been highlighted most evidently by the fact that there was only 400 MW of new wind farm permits awarded in the first quarter of 2019, well below historic levels, and the overall trend has served to see the last three German onshore wind auction rounds significantly undersubscribed, which in turn has led to rising prices.
In the first quarter of 2019, only 41 wind turbines with a combined output of 134 MW were installed in Germany, a devastating 87% decrease on the same quarter a year earlier. German consultancy FA Wind described the result as a “drastic slump” is a “temporary low point” of a larger decline which has been increasing for a year now.
The European wind energy trade body, WindEurope, followed this up a fortnight later by claiming that not only was the growth of onshore wind collapsing in Germany, but that the impact of the long decline could jeopardise not only the renewable energy targets of Germany but of the whole European Union.
“Onshore wind energy in Germany is in deep trouble,” said WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson. “The development of new wind farms has almost ground to a halt. The main problem is permitting – it’s got much slower, more complex and there aren’t enough civil servants to process the applications. It seriously undermines Germany’s ability to meet its 2030 renewables target and contribute to the EU target. And it’s affecting Germany’s wind turbine industrial base. Half of Europe’s 300,000 wind energy jobs are in Germany. But 10,000 have gone in Germany in the last five years. And this could get worse: there hasn’t been a single turbine order recorded in Germany in Q1 this year.
“The German Government now needs to make clear how they’re going to reach their 65% renewables target for 2030. It needs an annual build-out of 5 GW of onshore wind – and urgent action to speed up the permitting process.”
The big issue, as has been highlighted, is the delays in state permitting which have grown to a point where, instead of only taking 10 months, new onshore wind permits can now take over two years to proceed.
This has only been highlighted further, Monday, after the Bundesnetzagentur, Germany’s Federal Network Agency, announced the results of its latest onshore wind tender. Held on May 1, the 650 MW tender was significantly undersubscribed, with only 295 MW worth of bids submitted and 270 MW awarded over 35 permitted bids. Six bids were excluded due to eligibility issues.
Bids for projects in this latest tender averaged €61.3/MWh, ranging from €54/MWh to €62/MWh. Regionally, ten projects were awarded in North Rhine-Westphalia, seven in Lower Saxony, while Brandenburg and Thuringia were both awarded five each. Southern Germany’s Bavaria took away one bid.
In its press release announcing the results, the Bundesnetzagentur highlighted “a new worrying dimension” with the undersubscribed tender, pointing to the “difficult state of the permits for the construction of wind turbines by the competent Land authorities” which “continues to significantly shape the tendering procedure and the result.”
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