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The Truth About Wind Energy: ‘The Readily Available Wind Power Capacity In Germany Is Less Than One Percent Of Installed Capacity’

Klaus Stratmann, Handelsblatt

There are nearly 30.000 wind turbines in Germany. However, the latest figures prove that the available wind power capacity is negligible.

Berlin — The numbers are impressive: according to the German Wind Energy Association (BWE), 29,900 wind turbines have been installed in Germany

Their share in German electricity production amounts to a considerable 18.8 percent. Their installed capacity is 56,000 megawatts (MW). Thus, within just over two decades, wind power has developed from a niche market to a pillar power generation.

On closer inspection, however, a blatant weakness is evident: Although 56,000 MW of installed capacity corresponds to 56 large coal power plants, the decisive contribution for the entire power generation system, namely the reliable contribution of wind turbines to electricity production, is disappointing: “The actual production figures show that the readily available wind power capacity in Germany is less than one percent of installed capacity,” says Oliver Then, Managing Director of the VGB PowerTech Association.

The association sees itself as a neutral technical discussion platform for planners, manufacturers and owners of all types of power plants. Oliver Then relies on recent research findings. They have been seen by Handelsblatt and will be presented shortly. VGB PowerTech has analyzed in detail the real wind power production in 2016 in Germany and other European countries like Great Britain, Denmark, Spain and Portugal.

The message of their findings is clear: even if the expansion of wind power is going to progress rapidly, there will always have to be back-up capacity, e.g. by fossil power plants. “Wind power inevitably requires system partners who together ensure supply and grid stability,” says Then. 

Full story (in German)