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Germany’s federal government needs to prepare for the failure of its plans for the expansion of offshore wind power. “The goals are not attainable under current conditions,” said Dirk Briese, managing director of Trend Research.

Offshore-Windkraftparks sollen in Zukunft mehr zum Energiemix beitragen. Quelle: AFP

Offshore wind farms blown off course

The independent consulting firm which focuses on the energy industry, continuously assesses the status of all offshore wind projects in the North and Baltic Seas and uses the data to create accurate forecasts for the progress of the development. According to Briese, the data suggests that “all previous forecasts of the industry were too optimistic.” In the worst case, only 4,000 megawatts (MW) would be installed by 2020 instead of the planned 10,000 MW.

Without strong growth in electricity generation in the North and Baltic Seas germany’s goals of its green energy transformation cannot be reached. The federal government’s target to install 10,000 MW of offshore wind turbines represents just the first step. By 2030, wind turbines with a total capacity of 25 000 MW are to be installed off the German coast. This corresponds to an installed capacity of 25 large coal-fired power plants. In fact, however, a capacity of just 150 MW has been completed so far.

What is more, German policy makers have set high hurdles for investors. For reasons of environmental protection, the wind farms have to be built up to 100 kilometres away from the coasts. There, the sea is up to 40 meters deep. The foundation works are therefore particularly costly; the grid connections to the mainland are very expensive. This drives up the costs.

Full story (in German)