German offshore wind industry calls for action from policymakers

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 21/01/2021 WAB e.V.
According to the German offshore wind industry, incorrect political framework conditions prevented further offshore wind turbines being installed off the German coast in the second half of 2020.

A total of 32 turbines with a capacity of 219 MW were connected to the German grid for the first time last year. In total, 1,501 offshore wind turbines with a capacity of 7,770 MW are feeding electricity into the German North Sea and Baltic Sea.

"While the long-term framework conditions for the offshore wind industry have improved over the past year with the EU's 'Green Deal' and the German government's new long-term targets until 2040, the short-term situation of the industry remains challenging with the very weak domestic market,"
industry organisations BWE, BWO, VDMA Power Systems, WAB and the OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE Foundation commented on the offshore expansion figures.

The German offshore wind industry is calling tenders to be put out as quickly as possible combined with rapid commissioning for new capacity to be added before the end of the decade.

"Bringing forward investments now helps the economy and climate protection in equal measure. Offshore wind power is essential as the foundation of the energy transition for German and European climate targets,"
said the representatives of the industry associations.

According industry representatives, emerging conflicts of use with shipping, marine and nature conservation must be resolved pragmatically. In order to defuse conflicts of use to some extent, the EU Commission developed the co-use approach. According to this approach, the scarce marine space should - if possible - be used by several actors at the same time.

The representatives are also advocating for further development of the market design with the aim of relieving the burden on consumers and the economy and creating an attractive investment framework for national and international investors of all stakeholder groups. In this context, they recommend considering contracts for difference.

The industry organisations welcome the National Hydrogen Strategy and the associated approach of developing a comprehensive energy industry and industrial policy strategy that takes the entire value chain of technologies, components, production, storage, infrastructure and logistics into account. "Green" hydrogen needs a market-based foundation. CO2 pricing in the transport and heat sectors with a simultaneous reduction or restructuring of the EEG levy and financial burdens through other levies and taxes are steps in the right direction according to industry members.

For better planning of hydrogen projects, a concrete and binding volume target to produce "green" hydrogen from offshore wind energy and reliable procurement mechanisms are also needed. The areas that have so far been earmarked for the production of "green" hydrogen at sea (and are not connected) are insufficient and must be expanded as quickly as possible, according to industry representatives.

Industry members also stated that in order to secure the expansion targets in the long term and enable European planning, Germany also needs an expansion target for 2050. In addition, European and international cooperation - as recently called for by the North Sea Energy Cooperation under German chairmanship - should be further developed.