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The wind of change: Germany’s future in the air

Laurie Heyworth Research Analyst

Newly installed wind capacity in Germany increased by 260% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year. However, this increase is still marginal in the context of previous years and Germany’s wider renewable targets. Preliminary data released by the Berlin-based onshore wind specialist agency, Fachagentur Windenergie, show that 107 new turbines were installed from January to March, with a combined capacity of 348MW. This is 2.5 times higher than last year which saw only 41 new turbines installed with a total capacity of 134MW. This number mostly consisted of assets connected to the grid in Brandenburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony-Anhalt, and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. After factoring in decommissioned plants, the net expansion of onshore wind farms was closer to 66 with total output falling to 309MW. Older power stations were replaced by more efficient wind farms to increase the net output of power generated. Whilst this trajectory is an important improvement on last year, the current pace of the expansion of onshore wind’s development is far from what is needed to attain the federal government’s goal to increase the share of renewables to 65% of total power demand by 2030. Onshore wind, as the centrepiece of that goal, is still significantly behind the growth patterns seen in 2016 to 2018. As shown in Figure 1, in 2017, the amount of new onshore wind installations in Germany during the first quarter was 1,110MW – this represents a difference of 761.5MW when compared to Q120. The slow growth of onshore wind in Germany is largely ...

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