Germany Aims for 25 Percent Windpower by 2030

BERLIN, Germany, January 29, 2002 (ENS) - The German government today announced plans for a massive increase in wind generation capacity over the next 25 years. The move, according to environment minister Jürgen Trittin, would put energy supply and sustainable footing and reduce national carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent from 1998 levels.

The wind energy strategy agreed today foresees offshore wind parks in the Baltic and the North Sea growing in stages to achieve 25,000 megawatts of installed capacity by 2030.

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Offshore wind turbines (Photo courtesy NEG Micon)
The turbines would supply 15 percent of electricity demand based on 1998 figures. Add 10 percent from land based turbines and "within a generation ... one quarter of today's energy needs will be generated with environmentally friendly wind power," said Trittin.

He added that wind power already provided an additional 35,000 jobs and that, "The wind power sector is to become a self-supporting industry, something the nuclear sector has never achieved."

The Green Party minister has been charged with the task by his ministerial colleagues of coming up with a strategy for solving the existing 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.

According to a news agency report from Germany this afternoon, over 60 firms have already expressed an interest in permits to build wind turbines offshore.

Denmark will install 4,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind farms by 2030, and Ireland this month gave 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, even accepting the 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 offshore sites have less turbulence. However, the interaction between wind and waves must be factored into design, and wind speeds are less known.

“Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom have already built wind turbines in marine environments.

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.

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{Published in cooperation with ENDS Environment Daily, Europe's choice for environmental news. Environmental Data Services Ltd, London. Email: envdaily@ends.co.uk}