by Brian Parkin and William Wilkes, Bloomberg
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is set to hold more auctions for offshore wind power, plugging a current gap in tenders for the next three years that the industry has said would harm turbine makers and hamper green targets.
Germany will probably add about 5 gigawatts in capacity in the coming years, bringing the total capacity envisaged by the end of next decade to 20 gigawatts, said Deputy Economy and Energy Minister Thomas Bareiss in an interview on Wednesday in Berlin. Industry lobbies representing companies including Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA have pushed to increase tenders.
Boosting capacity “is a feasible step to help achieve the clean power target,” said Bareiss, adding that the Berlin government will probably announce details next month. “The proposal assumes that the overhaul of the mainland grid will be able to take the additional offshore power — that’s a must,” he said.
Germany has held just two offshore wind auctions, one in 2017 and one last year. In both tenders, capacity was won by investors who offered to build parks without subsidies. The results spurred industry, opposition parties including the Greens and environmentalists to demand a faster build out of seaborne power, exploiting the clean power’s competitiveness.
Merkel’s coalition of Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats has until now hesitated to bow to the pressure, citing the need to keep offshore capacity growth in step with an overhaul of the mainland power grid.
Germany is building two new north-south transmission “super highways” to take wind and solar power from the northern plain to the more industrialized south, but the 50 billion-euro ($57 billion) upgrade won’t be ready before 2025 at the earliest.
Germany’s offshore capacity rose to 6.4 gigawatts by the end of last year, the second largest market in Europe after the U.K. While Germany will likely meet an interim capacity target of 7.7 gigawatts by 2020, no auctions were planned between this year and 2021 when tenders were set to resume.