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Germany Short on Ports and Ships Needed to Expand Offshore Wind

Bloomberg
Total Views: 847
January 31, 2024

(Bloomberg) —

Germany’s wind industry warned that the country’s targets for expanding the renewable energy are increasingly threatened by supply-chain bottlenecks.

Industry groups called for investment in ports, converter stations and ships to prevent capacity constraints limiting the expansion of wind energy, which is key to securing future power supplies to Europe’s largest economy. Germany is phasing out coal and switched off its last nuclear power plants in 2023, but its installed wind capacity of 8.5 gigawatts remains far short of its 2030 goal of 30 gigawatts.

Last year, Germany added just 257 megawatts of offshore wind capacity in the Baltic Sea, and none in the North Sea. Grid bottlenecks meant the share of North Sea wind power fell for the first time in 2023, hitting a five-year low, TenneT Holding BV said Monday.

“We can see that the port of Cuxhaven is already working to capacity, so we need to expand now,” said Dennis Rendschmid, head of the manufacturer’s group VDMA Power Systems.

Grid operators are struggling to connect the offshore wind farms to the mainland, with four areas of over 6 gigawatts expected to see delays of between three months and two years, Germany’s Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency warned last week. 

The industry groups called for changes to the design of Germany’s offshore wind auctions, which last year yielded record returns of over €12.6 billion ($13.7 billion) from BP Plc and TotalEnergies SE. The tenders announced by the energy regulator this week will repeat the bidding format, but that’s likely to create “oligopolistic structures,” said Jens Assheuer, chairman of industry group WAB.

Auctions should be restricted to two projects or 2 gigawatts per bidder, said Assheuer, who warned that developers will pass on costs to customers and the supply chain.

“If one of these huge projects is not realized, the entire supply chain will collapse,” he said.

© 2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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