Wind power will remain the greatest contributor to the expansion of renewable energies in the electricity sector for the foreseeable future. In 2008, wind power generation contributed some 6.5 % to Germany‘s gross electricity consumption, and is therefore already one of the main producers of electricity in Germany. At the end of 2008, Germany had a total of 20,301 wind turbines with an installed capacity of around 23,902 MW. In 2008, Germany retained its position as a leader in the construction of new turbines, with 1,665 MW, putting it in fourth place behind the USA (8,358 MW), China (around 6,300 MW), and India (around 1,800 MW).
In 2007, the German wind power industry generated revenues around EUR 7.6 billion from turbines and components alone. According to the German Machinery and Plant Manufacturing Association (VDMA/), the export share is 83%.
A recent forecast by the German Wind Power Institute (DEWI GmbH) predicts that around 210,000 MW of wind power will be installed worldwide by 2014, which translates into an investment volume of around EUR 130 billion, with offshore technology and repowering playing a key role. As soon as offshore expansion picks up pace, the maritime industry anticipates a new boom. Locations such as Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven have already prepared for this by investing in infrastructure aiming at advancing wind power generation through research and development and reinforcing Germany’s industry position in this expanding market.
The wind energy sector accounts for 90,000 jobs in Germany, of which 37,000 are employed by manufacturers and component suppliers.
The Renewable Energy Act (EEG) – Success story for the entire renewables industry
The renewed Renewable Energy Sources Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz / EEG), which guarantees fixed feed-in tariffs for the duration of 20 years allowing for an optimal planning base, remains the main market driver in Germany.
Under EEG regulations, electricity produced from renewable energy sources enjoys priority for grid connection, grid access in either distribution and transmission grid, and power dispatch. These renewable energies include hydropower, wind, solar, and biomass energy, geothermal energy as well as landfill, pit and sewage gas. Grid operators are obliged to feed in electricity produced from renewable energy and buy it at a minimum price within their supply area.
By Andrea Stahl