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German onshore wind expansion almost at standstill

Christian Fernsby |
In the first half of 2019, the number of new onshore wind turbines constructed in Germany decreased by 82 percent compared to the previous year, according to figures published by Deutsche WindGuard on behalf of the German Wind Energy Association (BWE).

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Only 86 new onshore wind turbines with a gross output of 287 megawatts were built in Germany in the first half of the year, the figures showed.

If the number of dismantled wind turbines was taken into account, new construction of wind turbines in Germany shrank to just 35 turbines, according to Deutsche WindGuard.

The number of new onshore wind turbines was the "worst value since the introduction of the renewable energy law (EEG) in 2000," criticized the BWE.

"On the one hand, the German government talks about achieving ambitious expansion and climate protection targets for the years 2030 and 2050, on the other hand there is no perspective for this," said BWE president Hermann Albers.

In the German federal states of Bavaria, Hesse, Saarland, Bremen, Hamburg and Berlin, no new wind turbines were erected in the first half of the year, the Deutsche WindGuard figures showed.

The German Wind Energy Association is expecting more new onshore wind plants in the second half of this year but lowered its forecast for the year as a whole to a gross increase of around 1,500 megawatts.

In the years 2014 to 2017, the average annual increase of onshore wind energy in German was 4,600 megawatts, according to BWE.

"It is hard for the industry to have to cut the forecast now, because we can see that more renewable energy is needed," commented Matthias Zelinger, head of the Trade Association Power Systems (VDMA).

According to BWE president Albers, 11,000 megawatts of German wind projects were currently stuck in the approval process and the industry was "burdened by the backlog of approvals and the flood of lawsuits".

"The energy system transformation does not fail because of the costs, but is stopped by insufficient surface supply in the federal states, missing permissions and complaints as well as objection procedures against already granted authorizations," noted BWE president Albers.

According to the German specialist agency for onshore wind energy, FA Wind, complaints against more than 300 wind turbines had been currently filed in Germany.

The protection of nature and species was the most common cause for complaints against new wind turbines in Germany as well as military regulations concerning the use of airspace, according to FA Wind.

A German government working group for the acceptance of Germany's energy revolution, the Energiewende, was meant to present a paper on how to deal with public opposition to onshore wind by spring.

However, politicians from the ruling parties of the conservative union CDU/CSU and German Social Democrats (SPD) could not reach an agreement.

"If things continue like this, we must already question the climate targets today," warned Juergen Quentin, adviser at the German onshore wind agency FA Wind.

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