Germany’s offshore wind energy supply chain is currently under significant pressure, according to European wind energy trade body WindEurope, with a lack of auctions and underwhelming future prospects threatening a once-leading industry.
WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson spoke at the WAB Windforce Conference in Bremerhaven, Bremen last month, a German port city which was once a thriving industrial and innovation hub for the offshore wind industry, but which has since lost between 3,000 and 4,000 jobs in the offshore wind supply chain over the last three years.
According to WAB, the trade body for Germany´s Offshore Wind Industry and the Wind Energy Network in the Northwest Region, Germany is currently home to 24,350 offshore wind supply chain and operation jobs — of which 33% are exclusively for offshore, whereas the remaining 67% cross over with the onshore wind industry. Overall, Germany’s offshore wind industry has an annual turnover of €9.8 billion.
Largely at fault is Germany’s uninspiring long-term offshore wind energy goals, with the German government targeting only 15 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy to be installed by 2030. WindEurope believes that Germany could easily deliver 20 GW of new capacity by 2050, and even higher volume by 2035 with the right policies. However, as it stands, Germany’s targets are less ambitious (in relative terms) than European peers such as the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and Poland.
Germany’s lack of ambition has been criticized from within, with local Bremen politicians focusing their ire on the German Federal Government for their lack of ambition and the subsequent damage being caused to jobs and growth in their region of the country. Similarly, German transmission system operator (TSO) Amprion has asked whether Germany will have sufficient power generation capacity if it doesn’t accelerate its build-out of offshore wind at the same time as it is closing down nuclear and coal plants.
Concern over Germany’s offshore wind ambitions and the future of its national offshore wind energy industry join concerns for the country’s onshore wind energy sector which, as has already been widely covered, is suffering at the hands of extensive permitting delays which are serving to constrict the country’s development of new onshore capacity. The latest German onshore wind tender, held only a few weeks ago, was again significantly undersubscribed, awarding only 270 megawatts (MW) of an available 650 MW.