Expansion of offshore wind energy in Germany under threat

Revision of the REL amendment is required


Aachen. Trianel GmbH is one of the leading publicly owned companies dealing in offshore wind energy and demands improvements to the Renewable Energy Law (REL). Otherwise it would not be possible to achieve the expansion targets, which are ambitious anyway, by 2020, explains Trianel Managing Director, Sven Becker.

The Federal Government plans to increase the proportion of renewable energy in electricity generation to 35% by 2020. With capacities of 10,000 megawatts by 2020 and 25,000 megawatts by 2030, it is intended that the wind farms in the North and Baltic Seas make an important contribution to CO2-free power generation.

The REL amendment includes an optional acceleration model for promoting the construction of offshore wind farms. In this model the amount of funding is increased but the time period for such funding is reduced. The optional acceleration model proposed by the Federal Government suggests a 12 year period of support funding of offshore wind farms of 15 cents/kWh as well as an 8 year period with funding of 19 cents/kWh.

In Trianel’s opinion the period in the accelerated scenario should be extended by one year to 9 years and the tariff increased to 19.5 cents/kWh. The total amount of this funding would still be less than the 15 cents tariff over a period of twelve years. “But”, says Becker, “it would increase investment confidence in the critical start-up phase.” At the same time the period of public funding would be limited, which helps development take place under open market conditions.

Although the acceleration model “is a step in the right direction”, according to Becker, it clearly does not go far enough. “If the Federal Government does not provide better funding for offshore wind power, it will fail to achieve its expansion targets”, is the prognosis of Trianel’s Managing Director.

Furthermore, according to Becker, the proposed arrangement favours large energy companies with substantial financial muscle and disadvantages small and medium-sized energy companies such as public utility providers. It is especially these smaller companies which rely on credit finance, which in turn is affected by the fact that the investment risk is commercially disproportionate to the profit expectation. This prevents smaller market participants from entering the action and reinforces the oligo-political energy generation structures, also offshore. From Trianel’s point of view it is the second construction phase of the Borkum wind farm with an investment volume of over EUR 600 million that is currently being planned, that is at stake.

Construction work on the first phase of Trianel’s Borkum wind farm starts in August. In the first phase, 40 wind turbines with a total output rating of 200 megawatts will be installed for over EUR 700 million by the end of 2012.

  Elmar Thyen
Head of Communications
Tel +49 (0)241 41320-413 | Mobile +49 (0)151 12 64 17 87 | 
Email e.thyen@trianel.com

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