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Germany is behind on renewable energy goals, despite major growth in wind turbine sector

Germany is behind on renewable energy goals, despite major growth in wind turbine sector

The renewable energy association BWE published the report and recommended serious action so that prescriptive milestones can become numbers

Germany has built 240 onshore wind turbines with a capacity of 971 megawatts in 2021. Even if the figures are considerably higher than in 2019 and 2020, this strong market growth is not enough for the country’s long-term goals for wind farms. This becomes clear from a report that Bundesverband WindEnergie (BWE) published on 27 July.

BWE are a renewable energy sources association with around 20,000 members, which makes them one of the largest in the world. They have been advocating for the expansion of wind power for years.

Furthermore, specialists from the BWE also work in international associations such as WindEurope, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) on the European and worldwide development of wind energy.

A lot of progress has been made

Germany has built 240 wind turbines in the first half of 2021, which is 62% higher compared with the first half of last year. In fact, it is even higher than the wind turbines built in the entire 2019, which shows a strong market recovery and post-pandemic growth.

However, the renewed interest in the market is not enough to meet the government’s targets. Тhe German Renewable Energy Sources Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz)  dictates that the country should be able to produce 4,000 megawatts of renewable energy in 2021, which seems a distant possibility at this point.

In fact, when discussing the report, Herman Albers, the president of the German Wind Energy Association recommended drastic political actions after the federal election. According to him, the new government should pass legislation within the first 60 days, raising the bar in the Renewable Energy Sources Act to 6,000 megawatts.

He described this as the only way for Germany to compensate for the dent left by unmet renewable goals from the previous three years and the only way to meet the German Climate Protection Act’s demands of a 65% reduction in CO2 emission by 2030.  

In addition, the BWE claim that with the package “Fit for 55” aiming for a 55% cut to carbon emissions in the EU by 2030, the block will have to double the production of wind energy from 15,000 to 30,000 megawatts annually.

A bureaucratic nightmare prevents the quick expansion of wind installations

The wind farm expansion is slowed down by a lack of designated land, complicated approval processes and the unresolved species protection conflict.

Every state in Germany has their own mechanism for approving projects and according to the BWE, there are varying degrees of competencies and complications behind them. At the same time, the federal government has the obligation to create suitable infrastructure between wind turbine production sites and construction sites.

A lot of unforeseeable delays are born through the meeting of complex regional mechanisms and overarching obligations on the federal level which prevents a lot of long-term planning.  

The BWE recommends standardisation of the approval process on the federal level, to streamline and accelerate construction, otherwise, Germany’s renewable energy goals would amount to little more than wishful thinking.

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