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Germans sanction wind shake-up

UPDATE: industry slams government proposals for offshore sector

Germans sanction wind shake-up image

Germany’s cabinet has agreed on the reform of the country’s renewable energy act (EEG).

The draft law moves away from guaranteed feed-in-tariffs for projects to a competitive tendering system from 2017.

Industry players at the Windforce Conference in Bremen were critical of the EEG rules.  

“Organising two offshore wind capacity auctions in 2017 for the period 2021 to 2024 does not make any sense,” said Senvion executive and German engineering association VDMA representative Norbert Giese.

“The second auction needs to be postponed in order to achieve lower prices. If not, a number of uncertainties will have to be taken into account, such as fluctuations of steel price.

“We also need to have sites for offshore wind prototypes. We can’t afford to wait until 2025 for innovation tests.”

In 2025, Germany plans to assign new areas for offshore wind projects that were not successful in the 2021-24 tender period.

“We are not satisfied with the EEG reform,” said offshore lobby group WAB's Andreas Wellbrock. “The government is carrying out a shift of paradigms.”

But deputy federal energy minister Uwe Beckmeyer defended the proposals, arguing that the government wants to make sure that the industrialisation currently happening in Germany’s offshore wind sector will not be endangered.

“A disruption must not and will not happen again,” he said, referring to a period of political uncertainty before 2014 that left its mark in the development of the sector.

The proposals also limit the amount of onshore wind installations to 2.8GW a year until 2019, after which 2.9GW will be auctioned annually.

The government also ruled that parts of north Germany will only be allowed to add 58% of the average capacity installed in the last three years.

The region has less demand for power and the country lacks the links to transport renewable energy to its industrial centres in the south.

Earlier this week, Germany’s grid regulator BNetzA said that two north-south lines are likely to be delayed by three years to 2025, while a third one will be delayed by two years to 2021.

The main reason for the delay is a 2015 law that required the lines to be put underground.

New solar power capacity will be capped at 2.5GW a year, with 600 MW scheduled to be tendered. Small installations up to a 750kW peak capacity will be exempt from tendering.

The biomass rules will auction 150MW a year from 2017 to 2019, rising to 200MW annually from 2020 to 2022.

Image: Baltic 1 offshore wind farm (Siemens)

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