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Expansion figures for the first half of 2017 in Germany Onshore wind energy – Strong expansion in transition, significant risks in 2018/2019

Expansion of onshore wind energy in Germany in the first half of 2016Gross expansion of onshore wind energy by 2,281 megawatts (MW), which equals 790 wind power plants, as high as expected in the first half of 2017 Industry implementing the projects approved through the end of 2016 – transition effect will cease in 2018

  • Prospect following the first round of tendering for onshore wind energy:
    • Considerable planning uncertainty due to the success of non-approved projects
    • Cost reduction continues
  • Lawmakers must stipulate the Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG) approval as the uniform prequalification; the respective provision for the two tendering processes in 2018 must become permanently valid
  • It is vital that capacities in non-implemented projects be retendered to achieve a successful energy transition

In the first half of 2017, a total of 790 onshore wind power plants with a total output of 2,281 MW were built in Germany. This corresponds to an 11-percent increase over the same period the year before. 146 wind power plants with an output of 167 MW were dismantled during the same period, meaning that the net growth equals 644 wind power plants with a total of 2,114 MW. To date, 27,914 wind power plants generate clean energy throughout Germany. VDMA Power Systems and the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) expect a gross volume of almost 5,000 MW for onshore wind energy for all of 2017. Thus, cost-effective onshore wind energy marks its fourth strong year in a row. It can be expected that approvals of the transition system for approx. 3,500 MW will be available in 2018. The large share of as-yet non-approved projects in the first round of tendering and the resulting implementation risks make a reliable expansion forecast for the coming years nearly impossible.

Stable expansion in transition thanks to projects from the old Renewable Energies Act (EEG)

The expansion is based on the relatively high number of approvals issued before December 31, 2016. As of May 2017, the installation register of the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) included 6,885 MW, which can take advantage of the provisions of EEG-2014 – however, this is associated with a significant remuneration reduction. Following the first round of tendering and the announcement of the virtually exclusive awarding for projects without BImSchG approval, the industry specified risks for the future development that are currently reflected in the incoming orders. This results in companies losing planning certainty which is absolutely vital for industrial companies.

“The German market has been a strong leading market for the wind energy sector for four years now. The South was able to catch-up considerably in the past few years. Despite the strong expansion, the prices for electricity largely remained stable. The EEG levy is also becoming more stable. The supply reliability is ensured at all times. This makes it clear that the fluctuating renewable energies can be integrated into the market exceptionally well. The end of the tendering process also makes it clear that debates on costs can be lead differently. The issue at hand is taking advantage of the opportunities offered by digitalization and using renewable energies for mobility, heating and industrial applications,” says Hermann Albers, President of the BWE.

 Significant risks in 2018/2019

Projects from the first round of tendering are to be added in 2018. A considerable downturn in the expansion figures must be expected following the transition phase should the next two rounds of tendering be once again dominated by projects without BImSchG approval. Here, a decisive factor will be the implementation quota for projects which were successful in the tendering due special regulations for privately financed energy projects.

“The tendering results call for us to revise our expectation issued in July 2016 stating that the expansion in 2018 will be strongly influenced by the awarding results of the tenderings in 2017. We can already see a decline in system orders for the coming years. Legislature has already made necessary changes and demanded that approvals generally be the prerequisite for submitting tenders in the first rounds of tendering in 2018. This is the right move, but its effect comes too late and must be stipulated permanently without delay. In addition, non-implemented volumes must be submitted for tender again in order to remain on the path of expansion,” demands Andreas von Bobart, Deputy Chairman of VDMA Power Systems.

Consistent energy policies ensure economic power

We need measurable climate protection goals in all sectors along the Climate Action Plan 2050 for the future. Such goals represent an important orientation for market players and raise innovation and efficiency potentials. Digitalization and sector coupling will promote flexibility in the energy industry and ensure supply reliability. “Thanks to its highly innovative home market, Germany is a world market leader in many areas. But this position can only be upheld when energy policies are guided by stability and continuity. Policymakers may not step on the brakes after all market players have contributed to the transformation of the energy industry,” say Hermann Albers and Andreas von Bobart.

The world market – Slight decline expected

The world market is largely stable with a slight downwards tendency; the German wind industry is more than holding its own. However, VDMA Power Systems is quite concerned with the developments in free trade and the events surrounding the important Turkish market.

 Figures at a glance:


Status of onshore wind energy expansion Output in MW Number of systems
Net expansion in first half-year 2,113.78 644
Gross expansion in first half-year 2,280.7 790
Share of repowering 449.75 151
Dismantling in first half-year 166.92 146
Cumulated system inventory as of June 30, 2017 48,024.45 27,914

> Factsheet: Status of land-based wind energy development – 1st half 2017

Source: Bundesverband WindEnergie e.V., July 27, 2017

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compare Onshore wind energy 2014: Record 4,750 megawatt rise in installations in Germany

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