Library from Germany
German wind turbine maker Nordex (NDXG.DE) fell further into the red in January-September, it said on Wednesday, while its negative free cash flow nearly doubled due to increased investments in rotor blade production in Mexico and Spain.
But the days when Germany was the largest market for wind turbines in Europe are over. Now there is a slowdown in the industry. In the first half of 2019, the expansion of wind power on land almost came to a standstill. Only about 150 wind turbines were newly built, about 80 percent less than last year.
It’s good to know that wind turbine blades are a bird’s best friend, or something like that. I’m citing “fun facts” on the website of Synergy, Western Australia’s state-owned electricity generator. Synergy operations include half a dozen WA wind farms, mostly coastal. Synergy claims, correctly, that its fun facts “may blow your mind.” Fun Fact No. 9 is illustrated with a pic of Sesame Street’s Big Bird, pop-eyed with delight about wind turbines’ blade-and-splatter prospects. The caption reads (author’s emphasis)
The manufacturer had already in September announced 600 job losses in Denmark as it discontinued some legacy turbine production. CEO Markus Tacke said while those reductions were the result of shifting global demand patterns, and would be offset by growth in production elsewhere, the latest cuts are “structural” adjustments geared to help keep the company in competitive shape for the future.
More than 27,000 onshore wind turbines (WTG) are currently in Germany. At the end of 2020, facilities earning the 20-year subsidy under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) will no longer be covered for the first time. Depending on local conditions, older plants may be replaced by more powerful and more efficient new plants to allow for a higher yield at the site (so-called repowering). Also the continued operation of plants could come into question. A study by the German Federal Environment Agency examined the costs and risks of wind power decommissioning.
This nasty political and regulatory climate creates too much uncertainty for investors, just as the German government prepares to phase out wind-energy subsidies. That a vicious circle will ensue, understandably, worries the renewables industry. A recent study carried out for the engineering lobby group VDMA predicted that, if the current obstacles persist, employment in the onshore wind industry, which stands at 64,200 people today, will drop by 27% by 2030.
The most common grounds for complaint in Germany is the protection of birds and bats, which can be endangered by wind turbines. Procedural mistakes, monument protection, noise pollution, health effects and the effects on the local landscape are other common reasons why wind farms are objected to in the EU's largest country. "It is worrying when you think how urgent the need to expand renewable energy is," says Canning. Yet there are many people around Europe who passionately disagree with him.
News that Greta Thunberg is visiting Alberta should be welcomed by all Canadians.
A fall in prices and near collapse in the German market are among factors forcing Vestas to make the jobs cuts, according to Jacob Pedersen, a head analyst with Danish bank Sydbank who closely monitors the industry. “Prices are significantly lower than they were just two years ago. That’s why there’s a need to be very careful about costs,” Pedersen said.
Onshore wind continues to be held back by the insistence of chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party on fixing the minimum distance between wind turbines and residential housing at 1,000 metres. This move will "massively cut back the area available for wind energy", said the BEE. "It will throw regional and federal state planning [for wind energy] into chaos and endanger the whole wind sector," said Hermann Albers, president of BWE, the federal wind energy association.
"The situation in the wind power sector is a catastrophe. We are facing the slowest buildup of capacity in the past 20 years, while the government at the same time is claiming to fully support and implement the Paris climate goals," says Reiner Priggen, a former MP of the Greens and now a chief wind power lobbyist for Germany's Renewable Energies Association. ...Brussels-based trade group WindEurope Chief Executive Giles Dickson said: "The main problem is permissions. It's got much slower, more complex, and there aren't enough civil servant to process the applications."
Germany’s government clearly missed all three self-imposed targets associated with a shift to tenders in the allocation of support for renewable energy, a joint study by the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) and the Renewable Energy Association of North Rhine-Westphalia (LEE NRW) has found.
Germany's renewable power industry is facing growing resistance to new onshore wind farms.
According to its findings, more than 70 percent of the legal objections are based on species conservation, especially the threat to endangered bird species and bats. ...In addition to species protection, it is primarily conflicts with noise protection that are leading to legal objections against wind power projects. They are responsible for 17 per cent of legal cases. Monument protection are behind six percent of lawsuits.
Europe installed 2.9GW of new onshore wind capacity in the period, down from 3.3GW in the first half of 2018, while offshore wind additions rose to 1.9GW in the first half, up from 1.1GW added in the year-ago period, industry group WindEurope said. Germany experienced its worst half year in terms of onshore installations since 2000, with only 252MW added.
An additional factor exacerbating the renewables crisis is the fact that, two decades after the enactment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), 20-year guaranteed feed-in tariffs will begin expiring next year for the first wind, solar and biomass facilities. Some of those who installed solar panels back then -- often farmers and homeowners -- are still receiving 50 cents for every kilowatt hour they feed into the grid. Today, larger facilities receive just 5 cents per kilowatt hour.
Sleep disturbances and burnout are strikingly frequent near multitudinous wind turbines in Ostfriesland. Such serious illness has long-term consequences. Unfortunately, no interest is shown by politicians or official agencies.
The company said it has reached agreement with Trianel Windkraftwerk Borkum II GmbH & Co KG (TWB II) for a revised contract that will ensure delivery of turbines for the German offshore wind project. The remaining 17 of 32 wind turbines for the project are due to be delivered in Q3 2019.
In 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the country was turning away from nuclear energy in favor of a renewable future. Since then, however, progress has been limited. Berlin has wasted billions of euros and resistance is mounting.
Trade body warns the powerhouse of the European wind energy market is in 'deep trouble'. Germany could put the EU's renewables targets at risk thanks to a "collapse" in onshore wind farm development.