Germany to limit offshore wind power

Source: By Andreas Rinke and Caroline Copley, Reuters • Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Germany plans to cap the expansion of offshore wind power at the start of the next decade to ensure the future growth of renewables keeps step with the construction of new power lines, according to a revision to a new energy law seen by Reuters.

Between 2021 and 2025 the government plans to limit offshore wind installations to 3.1 gigawatts (GW) of capacity since high-voltage power lines needed to carry green energy from the windy north to the industrial south will not be ready.

The reforms to the energy law are aimed at bringing down the costs of Germany’s shift towards renewables sources of energy and away from nuclear power and fossil fuels known as the Energiewende.

The rapid expansion of green energy, which now makes up more than 30 percent of the power mix, has pushed up electricity costs in Europe’s biggest economy and placed a strain on its grids.

In 2021, new offshore wind capacity should be built exclusively in the Baltic Sea since power lines on the mainland there are already available, according to the agreement between the Economy Ministry and government parties.

From 2026, there will be annual new capacity of 840 megawatts (MW) in order to reach the target of having 15 GW of offshore wind capacity in 2030.

The revision to the new law also set out the size of tenders for new offshore projects. For 2017, 1.7 GW will be auctioned, while in 2018 this will be cut to 1.4 GW.

In addition, energy-intensive companies that were exempt from paying green energy surcharges until 2014 will only have to pay 20 percent of the surcharge in future, according to the agreement.

The new law, which must still be examined and approved by the European Union, is due to come into force at the start of 2017. (Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Caroline Copley, editing by Louise Heavens)