German Government ‘Plans To Stop And Reverse Wind Power’

  • Date: 08/04/16
  • Frank-Thomas Wenzel, Berliner Zeitung

Frankfurt am Main – If the green energy plans by the German Federal Government are implemented, the expansion of onshore wind energy will soon come to a standstill and then go into reverse.

 

It is a success story: According to figures by the Federal Network Agency, in the twelve months from February 2015 to January 2016 new wind turbines with a net capacity of nearly 3,600 megawatts were installed. The 3600 MW correspond to about three nuclear reactors. […]

What is the future of wind energy in Germany?

This depends entirely on political developments. In early March, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel presented a draft for the amendment of the Renewable Energies Act (EEG). The new rules regulate the subsidy levels for renewable energy. The new regulations are to be adopted in coming months. The draft says, inter alia, that the amount of renewable energy in the electricity mix will be limited to a level of 40 to 45 percent by 2025. At the end of last year the level was already nearly 33 percent.

What does this mean for the expansion of wind energy?

A study by consultants ERA on behalf of the Green Party’s parliamentary group concludes that under these provisions the development of wind energy will collapse fairly soon: A target of 45 percent would mean that only 1500 megawatts could be installed annually after 2018, according to the study. That’s less than half as the average of wind energy installed in the past five days.

How does this affect the amount of electricity produced?

The 1500 MW of new-built wind turbines would be insufficient even to replace older ones against new ones, the ERA-authors write. This means that wind generation capacity is actually shrinking. “As a consequence, there will be an economic stagnation of electricity from onshore wind energy already in the 2020s”, the study claims. From 2022 onwards, the amount of wind power will begin to shrink. With a 1,500 megawatts limit the government would undermine its own goals of a so-called expansion corridor of 2400-2600 megawatts.

What would the 40 percent cap mean?

A 40% cap for wind energy completely stop the construction of new wind farms by of 2019, according to the ERA study. Overall, this would reduce onshore wind power by almost 6000 megawatts compared to the end of 2015 – which would mean a massive slump in wind power generation by 18 terawatt hours.

What does this mean for companies that build the plants?

“The domestic market for many manufacturers collapses completely,” says Julia Verlinden, spokesperson for Energy Policy in the Green Party’s parliamentary group. “With their plan, the federal government is killing the wind companies.” This although wind energy is a cost-effective technology which can replace nuclear and coal power plants, she adds.

Who are the vested interests behind the government’s new plan?

Julia Verlinden claims that Energy Minister Gabriel seeks to protect “old, fossil fuel power plants against green competition”. There is a core of truth in this argument. It’s about power plants by the big energy companies RWE, Eon, EnBW and Vattenfall. All four companies are badly damaged, because they have relied too long on coal and nuclear power. As a result, these sectors are now threatened by massive job cuts. Trade unionists are putting pressure on to support these companies. Moreover, the Quartet are to bear the costs for the demolition of nuclear power plants and the disposal of nuclear waste.

What plans for the transformation of energy mean?

“With the planned EEG amendment Sigmar Gabriel wants to set himself a monument as the wrecker of the green energy transition,” said Green Party Vice Oliver Krischer. While the rest of the world is investing in solar and wind power, Germany’s federal government is going into reverse – just at a time when renewable energy has become so cheap.

Translation GWPF

Full story (in German)