Schleswig-Holstein: 100% Renewable Energy Supply in 2014, Likely to Become Renewable Eletricity Exporter

The Northern German coastal State of Schleswig-Holstein will be able to mathematically meet its electricity demand fully with renewable energy sources this year if wind yields reach at least average levels, Robert Habeck, Minister of Energy said when presenting a new study last week.

1. Renewable Growth Forecast

An additional 1.1 GW of wind power capacity is likely to be installed in Schleswig-Holstein this year, in particular in areas designated in late 2012 as suitable for wind power (Windeignungsflächen). Already in 2013 renewable energy sources mathematically accounted for 90% of the electricity supply according to a projection by the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDEW), Schleswig-Holstein informed.

Over the next 10 years Schleswig-Holstein expects to increase the share of renewable energy sources in the gross electricity consumption to 300%, meeting 8% of the total German electricity needs. Based on the study the ministry expects to have an installed renewable energy capacity of 16.3 to 16.6 GW by 2025, three times the amount installed in 2012. The highest expansion rate is assumed for onshore wind power, which is expected to grow in particular over the next five years, reaching a capacity of 10.5 GW by 2025. Solar capacity is expected to double compared to 2012 to 2.5 to 2.9 GW, while biomass is presumed to grow only little. Regarding biomass the focus should be on delivering flexible energy in times when the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow, Minister Habeck said. By 2025 offshore wind power is believed to reach 2.5 GW.

2. Renewable Growth in Schleswig Holstein in View of Overhaul of Renewables Law

A draft bill amending the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) with the aim to cut state support has been introduced to the Bundestag (Parliament) and the Bundesrat (Federal Council). It proposes to introduce so-called expansion corridors, allowing for annual onshore growth of 2,500 MW. To ensure compliance a so-called “breathing cap” shall be introduced modeled on the existing “breathing cap” for solar power. This means that financial support for onshore wind power under the new EEG is reduced quarterly (not annually) as of 2016 and can increase or decrease if growth exceeds or falls below the targets (please see new Sections 27 and 28 EEG).

The first reading of the bill in Parliament has already taken place. Last Friday, the Federal Council discussed the matter. On request of Schleswig-Holstein the Federal Council asked to amend the bill so that wind power plants installed this year will still receive financial support pursuant to the currently applicable EEG.

3. Grid Expansion

The study and the growth projections derived thereof will be the basis for grid expansion planning by the regulator, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), Schleswig-Holstein said. “The data show that planning is on track. The rule has to be: As much and as little grid expansion as necessary” Minister Habeck pointed out.

4. Energy Hub of the Future and Further Challenges

Due to the grid expansion plans between storage power plants in Scandinavia and the centers of demand in Southern Germany, Schleswig-Holstein was becoming an energy hub in Northern Europe, the state said. Challenges for the future are seen to be the need to create more flexibility through dynamic load management, grid-related short-term storage systems as well as power-to-heat plants.

Source: State of Schleswig-Holstein

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