New Offshore Capacity Almost 1.8 GW in First Half of 2015 – Half of Offshore Target for 2020 Reachable by End of Year

By 30 June 2015 a total of 668 offshore turbines with an overall capacity of 2.777,8 MW were feeding power into the German grids. 422 of the turbines, with a combined capacity of 1.765,3 MW came online in the first half of 2015 alone, the foundation Stiftung Offshore Windenergie reported. According to the association, the industry expects offshore capacity of 3.3 GW to the connected to the grid by the end of year, i.e. a little more than half the national offshore target of 6.5 GW for 2020.

1. Information by Stiftung Offshore Windenergie

According to the Stiftung Offshore Windenergie, around three million households can currently be supplied with offshore wind power.

Another 90 turbines with a total capacity of 380.7 MW are already completely installed and due to start feeding in soon. Besides, the foundations for a further 84 turbines have been erected, Stiftung Offshore Windenergie says. Hence the industry expected a total of around 2.250 MW of new offshore wind energy capacity to be feeding into the grid for the first time in 2015, leading to total offshore wind power capacity of 3.3 GW.

The second half of the 6.5 GW target for 2020 would not be a problem, the foundation says, citing Dr. Jörg Buddenberg, chair of the Working Group for Offshore Wind Energy AGOW as saying: “The expansion continues with additional projects: nine projects comprising turbines with a total capacity of 704.4 MW are under construction. The final investment decisions are on the table for five more projects with 1.482,8 MW.

Stiftung Offshore Windenergie and the trade associations involved in offshore wind power call continued grid expansion crucial, in particular for the period beyond 2020. They criticise the regulator, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), with regard to its position concerning the latest draft of the Offshore Grid Development Plan 2015.

The Renewable Energy Sources Act that applying since 1  August 2014 (EEG 2014) introduced rules mandating that financial support for renewable energy sources and mine gas and its specific amount shall be determined through auctions by 2017 at the latest. The offshore wind power associations demand clarification about the new rules in 2016 so that investors have planning security and offshore wind power growth can continue.

2. Background Information

The EEG  2014 reduced the national offshore targets from 10 MW to 6.5 GW by 2020 and from 25 GW to 15 GW by 2030. Growth is managed through the statutory grid connection regime laid down in the German Energy Act (EnWG). Based on the annual Offshore Grid Development Plan (O-NEP), BNetzA allocates grid connection capacity. For the period until 1 January 2018 BNetzA is entitled to allocate capacity not only in the amount of 6.5 GW, the national target for 2020, but 7.7 GW. The transitional provision was included in the EnWG in view of the offshore projects planned in the past that have received unconditional grid connection commitments under the previous EnWG.

Under the EEG 2014 the initial higher remuneration for the first eight years from the date of commissioning of offshore power plants granted until the end of 2017 under the EEG 2012 was extended to the end of 2019 (so-called Stauchungsmodell, acceleration model). Until the end of 2017 the applicable value is 19.4 ct/kWh (which makes it one of the highest paid for renewable energy sources). It decreases to 18.4 ct/kWh as of 1 January 2018. Instead of the 8-year acceleration remuneration model operators can still chose an initial 12-year remuneration of currently 15.40 ct/kWh. The basic remuneration that applies after the period in which the 8- or 12-year tariff is paid is 3.9 ct/kWh.

Source: Stiftung Offshore Windenergie

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