Onshore wind at risk in Germany

Germany is predicted to install between one and two GW of onshore wind this year, a decrease on the past five years which saw an average of 4.3 GW per year. In the first quarter of 2019, Germany installed 134 MW of new onshore wind farms, the lowest first quarter figures since 2000. Despite developments in Germany’s offshore wind sector, the country is due to build 730 MW per year up to 2030. According to wind power promotion association WindEurope, these figures are insufficient to meet Germany’s goal of 65 per cent renewable energy by 2030. The figures also put Germany far behind other European countries, like France and Spain.

According to WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson, much of the reduction in new German wind capacity is due to the issuance of permits. The process of attaining a permit to construct a wind farm, which used to take about 10 months, now takes about two years. This is leaving numerous German wind projects locked in legal disputes as the country lacks the proper amount of civil servants required to process all the applications. He claims that half of Europe’s 300,000 wind energy jobs are in Germany, but the industry has lost 25,000 jobs in the last two years, and there has not been a single turbine order in Germany in 2019’s first quarter. He predicts that a further decrease in German wind capacity could make this worse. Dickson urges the Government’s Public Acceptance Working Group to identify areas where new onshore wind farms could be installed.

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