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Germany Aims to Accelerate Development of Offshore Wind Farms

Germany starts to expand offshore wind farms
Germany plans to expand its offshore wind power generation (file photo)

Published Dec 29, 2021 8:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

The German government is taking the first steps designed to support a large expansion of the country’s offshore wind power generation. The efforts are supported by the new coalition government that came to power at the beginning of December 2021, with the planning authorities moving forward rapidly to re-accelerate the expansion of offshore renewable energy after years of delays.

The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) is presenting the first new projects as part of an update that came into effect in September 2021 for the country’s spatial plan for the North Sea and Baltic regions. The plan seeks to identify new areas with a focus on offshore wind and renewable energy projects including expanding into the far offshore regions of the North Sea.

The first regional planning plans for the German exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the North and Baltic seas came into force in 2009. Factoring in a decade of experience, the BSH working with the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Home Affairs (BMI), which is responsible for marine spatial planning, began the process of updating the existing spatial plans in June 2019. According to the agencies, the update coordinates the various uses such as shipping, offshore wind energy, power and data cables, pipelines, raw material extraction, fishing, research, and defense. The update went into effect on September 1, 2021.

BSH announced that it plans to release by mid-January 2022 a new environmental assessment which includes identifying sites for an additional 3 GW offshore wind generation in the North Sea. A draft plan for the development of the new areas is expected by mid-2022 and a final plan by the end of the year.

This represents the first step in the new government’s ambitious plans to place a significantly increased emphasis on renewable energy including offshore wind and solar. Currently, Germany is third in the world with 7.8 GW of operational offshore wind generation capacity. 

The previous plan called for 65 percent of the country’s energy needs to come from renewable sources by 2030 but the new government seeks to increase it to 80 percent by 2030. A centerpiece of their plan calls for a target of 30 GW from offshore wind power generation by 2030, which is 50 percent higher than the previous target. 

Longer-term, the new Social Democratic Party coalition government says it wants to achieve 40 GW from offshore sources by 2035 and 70 GW by 2045. By comparison, the U.S. is targeting 30 GW by 2030 while the U.K. is targeting 40 GW of power from offshore wind generation.