Germany’s most populous state North-Rhine Westphalia is proposing to ramp up the country’s quarterly onshore wind auctions in 2018 by an additional 1.4GW.
Under current plans 2.8GW is to be auctioned this year, but a bill introduced in the Bundesrat, the upper house of the country’s parliament, is seeking to increase the capacity on offer in the August and October auctions by 1.4GW each from 700MW currently.
The bill calls for 2019 auction volume to remain at 2.8GW, followed by 3.9GW a year from 2020 onwards – 1GW more per year than under the current law.
It aims to reduce uncertainty for Germany’s onshore sector over whether or not community-based projects successful in the 2017 auctions will actually be built.
Some 2730.4MW out of 2820.4MW auctioned last year was awarded to community-driven projects.
These projects did not need to have a construction licence in place to take part in the auctions and also have 54 months to be completed compared with 30 months for other developers.
It is unclear, however, how many of these wind farms will be built and over what timescale.
This could lead to a disruption of wind industry expansion in 2019 and 2020, industry groups have warned.
The bill includes a provision to potentially subtract the extra 1.4GW from the quarterly auction volumes depending on how many of the community-driven wind farms are realised.
Germany’s wind energy association BWE has called for an additional 1.5-2GW a year in 2018 and 2019, followed by an optional extra 500MW in 2020, to reduce uncertainty.
Projects with a cumulative capacity of 5.5GW could take part in this year’s auctions, according to an Enervis Energy Advisors report commissioned by BWE.
“There will be no shortfall of bids in extended auctions”, BWE said.