Winds of Change: Germany’s Onshore Wind Power Expansion Roars Back to Life

Industry Optimistic as First Tender Surpasses Expectations, Signaling a Revival in Wind Energy Growth

Winds of Change: Germany's Onshore Wind Power Expansion
Exploring the Rejuvenation of Onshore Wind Power in Germany

In a significant turnaround for Germany’s onshore wind power sector, the expansion of wind energy is once again gaining momentum, overcoming a political hurdle that had hindered growth between 2019 and 2021.

Industry experts and the lobby group Bundesverband WindEnergie (BWE) have expressed their optimism, citing successful bids totaling over 1.8 gigawatts (GW) in the first tender of the year. Projections hint at a substantial increase to almost 5 GW across the next four tenders.

A Political Turnaround and Renewed Hope

The dip in newly installed capacity, described by BWE as “politically caused,” now appears to be firmly in the rearview mirror. The outcome of the latest tender has breathed new life into the onshore wind power sector, providing a beacon of hope for the industry’s future. This positive trend is particularly crucial as Germany seeks to transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.

Overcoming Obstacles: A Looming Licensing Boost

While the recent successes are a promising sign, the industry acknowledges the hurdles it still faces. Licensing procedures, some of which have been mired in delays lasting more than five years, are finally showing signs of progress. Many of these projects, once stuck in bureaucratic red tape, are now poised for implementation in the current year. However, challenges persist in securing designated wind power production sites, sourcing technical components, and navigating transport logistics for large turbine elements.

BWE President Bärbel Heidebroek emphasized the need for a licensing boost across all states, with a particular focus on southern Germany, which has lagged behind. Despite these challenges, Heidebroek remains positive, highlighting the wind power sector’s remarkable feat in surpassing coal as Germany’s primary electricity source in 2023.

BNetzA’s Confirmation: Wind Power on the Right Track

Adding weight to the positive developments, Germany’s Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) released the results of the country’s first renewable power auctions in 2024. The results reinforced the upward trajectory of onshore wind power, with Klaus Müller, head of BNetzA, expressing satisfaction with the progress. While acknowledging that Germany has not yet achieved its wind power expansion goals, Müller emphasized the encouraging path the country is on.

Throughout 2023, the total volume of submitted wind power projects reached an impressive 6.5 GW, a substantial increase compared to previous years. Müller noted that between 2018 and 2022, yearly bids never exceeded 3.7 GW, underscoring the significant growth and potential of Germany’s onshore wind power sector.

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