Germany Greenlights 8GW of Additional Onshore Wind and Solar Capacity

Germany’s governing coalition recently agreed to
long-promised supplemental
tenders
that will add a total of 8 gigawatts of onshore wind
and solar power to the grid over the next three years.

In the
coalition treaty
agreed to by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s
Union alliance and the Social Democratic Party early in 2018, the
governing partners pledged to add 4 gigawatts of onshore wind and 4
gigawatts of solar under so-called “special auctions.”
Generating capacity added under the auctions is on top of planned
expansions under Germany’s
amended Renewable Energy Act
, which had capped annual onshore
wind additions at 2.8 gigawatts in 2019 and 2.9 gigawatts in
2020.

The German wind energy industry, among others, had pushed for
the supplementary tenders out of concern that the country’s
onshore wind sector faces a potential
gigawatt-scale “decommissioning wave”
as 20-year feed-in
tariff contracts expire for existing wind projects beginning in
2020.

The governing parties responded. Under an
agreement reached
by Germany’s Cabinet in early November, the
federal government will hold auctions to procure 1 gigawatt each
for onshore wind and solar in 2019, increasing to 1.4 gigawatt for
each in 2020 and 1.6 gigawatt for each in 2021. 

The additional renewable energy tenders are expected to reduce
carbon dioxide emissions by up to 10 million tons by 2020 and are
intended to keep Germany within reach of its 65 percent renewable
electricity target for 2030. Experts expect renewables to cover
38 percent of Germany’s electricity consumption
this
year.

Industry, environmentalists welcome tenders

Industry organizations and environmental advocates welcomed the
supplemental renewables tenders — with some caveats.

“It is good that movement finally returns to energy policy.
Manufacturers need a clear perspective for the next few years,”
said
Matthias Zelinger, managing director, Germany’s Mechanical
Engineering Industry Association, in a statement (translated from
German).

Zelinger also called on German policymakers to simplify project
permitting and to consider additional tenders for offshore wind
energy.

“The additional tenders are an extremely important sign for
the German wind industry that is currently undergoing a critical
period due to a rapid political change from a guaranteed
feed-in-tariff regime to a tender regime,” Christoph Zipf,
spokesperson for the German Wind Energy Association (BWE), wrote in
an email.

“The decision to maintain the 4 GW additional onshore wind
capacity while stretching the tender period to three instead of two
years is generally seen as a positive sign by BWE,” he
added.

“The special tenders for wind and photovoltaics are long
overdue. So it’s good that they should finally come,”
said
Henrik Maatsch, policy advisor, climate and energy, WWF
Germany, in a statement (translated from German).

He added: “This must not hide the fact that the expansion path
for renewables still lags far behind what would be necessary to
implement the energy transition in Germany and to live up to the
Paris Climate Change Agreement.”

More needed to hit 2030 renewables target

Stakeholders have urged Germany’s governing coalition to ramp
up renewables deployment in order to meet the country’s 2030
renewable electricity target.

“We need more speed on the renewables expansion, otherwise we
will not reach the target of 65 percent renewable energy by
2030,” German Association of Energy and Water Industries chairman
Stefan Kapferer
said
in a statement (translated from German).

BWE’s Zipf said policymakers must plan for the long term.

“The overall time to plan and install wind turbine projects
takes between 3 and 5 years. Investments need a clear and reliable
planning horizon instead of changing market conditions (first
reducing the tendered capacity, then introducing additional
tenders),” he said.

He added that project developers are seeking certainty on
planned renewable energy capacity additions through at least
2030.

“In 2030, Germany wants to produce 65 percent of its energy
from renewable sources,” he said. “Different studies and
projections come to the result that in order to reach this goal,
an annual installation of 5 gigawatts wind onshore is
required.”

“With the current expansion rates, the target of 65 percent
renewables in 2030 under the coalition agreement will not be
achieved,” said WWF Germany’s Maatsch. The organization called
on Germany to install at least 2.5 gigawatts net annually, each, of
onshore wind and solar photovoltaic capacity.

In a bid to promote public acceptance of new onshore wind
projects, German utility EnBW
recently proposed a plan,
similar to policy implemented in
Denmark, under which private citizens can invest in projects
located near their homes. The citizen investors can invest between
500 euros and 10,000 euros ($570 and $11,385) in projects and
receive a guaranteed 3 percent return over seven years.

Source: FS – GreenTech Media
Germany Greenlights 8GW of Additional Onshore Wind and Solar Capacity