The new German government wants to put the wind back in the sails of the country’s production of renewable energy. And one major component of that policy is wind energy itself.
Construction of wind turbines has stagnated in recent years, and the government wants that to change. The coalition agreement includes the general principle that two percent of German land be used for wind energy. Expansion of this energy source is to be promoted even in the less windy parts of the country, and permit procedures are to be simplified. Offshore wind-energy production is to be increased to 30 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, 40 GW by 2035 and 70 GW by 2045.
In a major interview with weekly newspaper Die Zeit, German Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck said that the country would build “on average 1000 to 1500 wind turbines, depending on how many old units can be replaced by new, significantly higher-performance ones.” By comparison, Germany has barely averaged 450 in recent years.
Habeck established a record of promoting wind energy in his former job, a six-year tenure as minister for energy, agriculture, environment and rural areas in the regional state of Schleswig-Holstein. Now on the national level, he continues to push the technology as not only ecologically but economically vital.
“Renewable energies create value in rural areas and contribute to the prosperity of communities and individual citizens,” Habeck told Die Zeit, citing the example of two areas in Schleswig-Holstein. “These regions, which would otherwise be classic candidates to be hit hard by demographic shifts, with people moving away, are now relatively prosperous – thanks to renewables. They have shared mobility just like in central Berlin and quick Internet connections because wind farms trade on energy markets. And employment prospects are good because of the need for maintenance.”
Industry observers say the renewed emphasis on the technology could usher in a renaissance of German wind energy production.
“The new goals of federal government are very ambitious especially against the backdrop of sluggish construction, so they represent a huge challenge for all concerned,” says Germany Trade & Invest wind-energy expert Esther Frey. “But this means significant growth for the domestic wind-energy sector. There are also massive opportunities for international companies. Particularly in offshore wind energy, we are going to see new players along the whole value chain over the years to come.”