Wind power in Germany
The installed capacity of wind power in Germany was 44,470 megawatts (MW) in 2015, with wind power producing about 13.3 percent of Germany’s total electrical power. According to EWEA in a typical wind year, installed wind capacity in Germany was estimated to have met 10.6% at end 2011 and 9.3% at end 2010 of the German electricity needs. The persistent disparity between EWEA estimates for a "normal wind year" and the actual data tabulated below may be due to the EWEA relying on an unrealistically high capacity factor for German wind production.
More than 26,772 wind turbines were located in the German federal area by year end 2015, and the country has plans for further expansion. As of the end of 2015 Germany was the third largest producer of wind power in the world by installations, behind China and the USA, and ahead of India, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Since 2011, Germany's federal government has been working on a new plan for increasing renewable energy commercialization, with a particular focus on offshore wind farms. A major challenge will be the development of sufficient network capacities for transmitting the power generated in the North Sea to the large industrial consumers in southern Germany.
In Germany, hundreds of thousands of people have invested in citizens' wind farms across the country and thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises are running successful businesses in a new sector that in 2015 employed 142,900 people and generated 12.3 percent of Germany's electricity in 2016. Wind power has gained very high social acceptance in Germany.
As of 2010, Wind power in Germany provided over 96,100 people with jobs and German wind energy systems are also exported. The Fuhrländer Wind Turbine Laasow, built in 2006 near the village of Laasow, Brandenburg, was the tallest wind turbine in the world for six years.
In 2016, Germany decided to replace feed-in tariffs with auctions from 2017, citing the mature nature of the windpower market being best served in this way.
Repowering, the replacement of first-generation wind turbines with modern multi-megawatt machines, is occurring in Germany. Modern turbines make better use of available wind energy and so more wind power can come from the same area of land. Modern turbines also offer much better grid integration since they use a connection method similar to conventional power plants.
Offshore wind power
Offshore wind energy also has great potential in Germany. Wind speed at sea is 70 to 100% higher than onshore and much more constant. A new generation of 5 MW or larger wind turbines which are capable of making full use of the potential of wind power at sea has already been developed and prototypes are available. This makes it possible to operate offshore wind farms in a cost-effective way once the usual initial difficulties of new technologies have been overcome.
Following the 2011 Japanese nuclear accidents, Germany's federal government is working on a new plan for increasing renewable energy commercialization, with a particular focus on offshore wind farms. Under the plan, large wind turbines will be erected far away from the coastlines, where the wind blows more consistently than it does on land, and where the enormous turbines won't bother the inhabitants. The plan aims to decrease Germany's dependence on energy derived from coal and nuclear power plants. The German government wants to see 7.6 GW installed by 2020 and as much as 26 GW by 2030.
A major challenge will be the lack of sufficient network capacities for transmitting the power generated in the North Sea to the large industrial consumers in southern Germany.
In 2014, all in all 410 turbines with 1747 megawatts were added to Germany's offshore windparks. Due to not yet finished grid-connections, only turbines with combined 528.9 megawatts were added to the grid feed at the end of 2014. Despite this, the gigawatt offshore windpower barrier was reportedly breached by Germany around the end of 2014 During 2015 offshore windpower was tripled to over 3 gigawatts capacity, signalling the growing importance of this sector.
The 2010 "Energiewende" policy has been embraced by the German federal government and has resulted in a huge expansion of renewables, particularly wind power. Germany's share of renewables has increased from around 5% in 1999 to 17% in 2010, reaching close to the OECD average of 18% usage of renewables. Producers have been guaranteed a fixed feed-in tariff for 20 years, guaranteeing a fixed income. Energy co-operatives have been created, and efforts were made to decentralize control and profits. The large energy companies have a disproportionately small share of the renewables market. Nuclear power plants were closed, and the existing 9 plants will close earlier than necessary, in 2022.
The reduction of reliance on nuclear plants has so far had the consequence of increased reliance on fossil fuels and on electricity imports from France. However, in good wind Germany exports to France; in January 2015 the average price was €29/MWh in Germany, and €39/MWh in France. One factor that has inhibited efficient employment of new renewable energy has been the lack of an accompanying investment in power infrastructure (SüdLink) to bring the power to market. The transmission constraint sometimes causes Germany to pay Danish wind power to stop producing; in October/November 2015 this amounted to 96 GWh costing 1.8 million euros.
Different Länder have varying attitudes to the construction of new power lines. Industry has had their rates frozen and so the increased costs of the Energiewende have been passed on to consumers, who have had rising electricity bills. Germans in 2013 had some of the highest electricity costs in Europe.
Installed wind power capacity and generation in recent years is shown in the table below:
|Installed Capacity (MW)||55||106||174||326||618||1,121||1,549||2,089||2,877||4,435|
|Installed Capacity (MW)||6,097||8,738||11,976||14,381||16,419||18,248||20,474||22,116||22,794||25,732|
|Installed Capacity (MW)||26,903||28,712||30,979||34,022||38,557||44,470||49,972|
|Installed Capacity (MW)||30||80||188||268||622||994||3,284|
|% of Wind Gen.||0.1||0.5||1.2||1.4||1.8||2.6||10.5|
Share of the potential annual energy yield of the net electrical energy consumption in 2011:
|State||No. Turbines||Installed Capacity [MW]||Share in the net electrical energy
|offshore North Sea||31||155.00|
|offshore Baltic Sea||21||48.30|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wind power in Germany.|
- Germany Inaugurates 5 MW Wind Turbine Prototype
- 5-MW BARD Near-shore Wind Turbine Erected in Germany
- Deutsche Energie-Agentur (Dena), German Energy Agency
- Official site about wind power and renewable Energy in the Emscher-Lippe-Region
- Cost-optimal expansion of renewables would save Germany up to two billion euros a year