Library from Germany
Power prices in Germany are among the highest in Europe, not least due to the costs arising from the launch of renewable energy sources – but many customers continue to support the country's energy transition regardless. While wholesale electricity prices on average have been in decline in recent years, surcharges, taxes, and grid fees raise the bill for Germany's private households and small businesses. However, market observers say that power costs are often not even high enough for customers to look for cheaper alternatives.
A fire in a wind turbine in Germany’s Lower Saxony on January 18 prompted warnings from local authorities to keep windows and doors closed in nearby areas while authorities tackled the blaze.
Skeptics fear that the country is on a risky path. Sufficient renewable energy sources might not be available in time to compensate for the loss of fossil and nuclear power. Though renewables account for around 40 percent of Germany’s electricity supply, there are limits to further expansion ...In some rural parts of Germany, people are fed up with ever growing “wind parks”; more citizens are protesting new — and often taller — wind turbines in their neighborhoods. And there is growing resistance to the new paths needed to transport electricity from coasts to industrial centers.
“Overall, the renewables expansion is not sufficiently rapid to meet Germany’s generation targets for 2030,” Berlin-based Agora said in an annual analysis. The slower installation partly reflects delays to the planning and permissioning of onshore turbines applications because of objections to their construction. Disagreements over financing and general inertia by authorities have also slowed down related grid expansion to transport wind power north to south.
The Social Democratic Party (SPD) has proposed a new answer to people complaining about wind farms in Germany: offering money to those willing to live near them. "Those people who accept windmills in their neighborhood, and so make the expansion of renewable energy possible, should be rewarded," SPD environment spokesman Matthias Miersch told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper.
The acquisition of sole control over certain assets belonging to Senvion of Germany by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy of Spain complies with EU Merger Regulation, the European Commission has said.
He and his neighbors demanded the operators shut down their turbines from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. He also joined a 500-strong protest group that stopped the wind farm from being replaced by taller, more modern turbines. Still, the 69-year-old feels the wind farm is keeping him from enjoying his retirement in peace. Depending on where the sun is positioned, the shade of one of the rotating turbines falls on his house. He says it is very unsettling.
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.