Despite being the largest windpower generator worldwide already, the German government has announced plans for a massive increase in wind capacity over the next 25 years.BERLIN, DE, 2002-02-12 [SolarAccess.com] According to the German Environment Minister, Jürgen Trittin, it would put energy supply on a sustainable footing and reduce national carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent from 1998 levels.The wind energy strategy, agreed to within the government’s ranks, envisages offshore wind parks in the Baltic and the North Seas developing in stages to reach 25,000 megawatts of installed capacity by 2030. If the offshore turbines reach 15 percent of expected demand and land wind turbines add another 10 percent as planned, then Trittin says that “within one generation, a quarter of Germany’s energy needs will be generated with environmentally friendly wind power.” He says that wind power already provides an additional 35,000 jobs and added that the wind power sector would become a self-supporting industry, “something the nuclear sector has never achieved.” Germany is in the process of phasing out nuclear power generation over the next 30 years. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and energy companies formally signed an agreement in June 2001 to shut down Germany’s 19 nuclear power plants. The Green Party minister, as part of the government, has been charged by his other ministerial colleagues with producing a strategy for solving the conservation and land use conflicts which surround the development of offshore wind parks, as well as speeding up the planning system so construction can start. Reports from Germany indicate that more than 60 companies have already expressed an interest in permits to build offshore wind turbines. Denmark will install 4,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind farms by 2030, and the Irish have just given approval for the world’s largest offshore wind farm. Studies have confirmed that most European countries have viable offshore wind resources that would generate more than 20 percent of current power consumption, despite constraints imposed by shipping lanes, military activity, dredging concessions and environmentally sensitive areas. Wind speeds in the open water are higher than coastal areas, and Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom have already built wind turbines in marine environments. Offshore sites have less wind turbulence but the interaction between wind and waves must be factored into design and wind speeds are less known offshore.