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Germany wants to pepper its northern seas with offshore wind turbines as part of its ambitious energy revolution. But strict laws, technology problems and multiple delays are turning the massive enterprise into an expensive fiasco. Investors and the public are losing patience.
Wow, this coal plant is flexible indeed. ...It can ramp up and down within minutes to meet renewable's intermittency. And at $3.4 billion, it's a steal. Thanks to their Renewable Energy Act (EEG) and the shutting of their nuclear plants, the country's energy costs are skyrocketing and driving German manufacturing out of business or off-shore
RWE AG, Germany's second-biggest utility, is seeking compensation from the federal government as its offshore wind farm project faces "further massive delays," Der Spiegel reported on Sunday, citing the company's new CEO. Efforts to link RWE's so-called Nordsee Ost wind farm in northwestern Germany to the main electricity network keep running behind schedule.
German wind turbine manufacturer Nordex made a first-quarter net loss of €14m ($18m) - widening the €1.8m deficit it recorded in the first three months of 2011. Nordex sales rose by 8.3% to €198.3m, while order intake reached €312m compared to €154m in the same quarter last year.
In light of these major challenges, can Germany keep its offshore wind programme on track? While there are no fixed dates as to when the administration will act, Mr. Wesselink is adamant that swift action is essential for Germany's offshore wind programme to succeed. "Only when the new legislation has been drafted in line with our plans, will it be possible [for Germany to meet its offshore wind target]".
Germany's plans for a radical expansion in offshore wind power generation are at risk of failure because of delays in hooking the wind farms up to the power grid, German power company E.on warned on Tuesday.
"In terms of the good, the bad and the ugly wind projects from a moneymaking point of view, many in Germany and Italy have been bad. "There has been persistent overestimation of wind speeds in Germany and Italy. Developers and turbine manufacturers want to record high wind speeds to get projects off the ground. But now investors are wising up."
Controversial German wind turbine maker Bard has pulled out of a project to build the Netherlands' biggest offshore wind park, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Wednesday. Bard beat Dutch energy firms Nuon and Eneco to the contract to build the wind park off the coast.
The Netherlands and Germany are embroiled in a dispute over the placing of wind turbines at sea off the coast of the Dutch island of Schiermonnikoog, the Telegraaf reports on Thursday.
Rochdale council could face significant legal costs if it moves to block the construction of a windfarm on the hills above Watergrove reservoir. That was the stark warning given to Rochdale Township planning sub-committee this week by a senior planning officer.
More than one third of Germany's 21,500 wind turbines are located in the nation's east. This concentration of generating capacity regularly overloads the region's electricity grid, threatening blackouts. ...In 2009, exports to western Germany, neighboring Poland and the Czech Republic reached 6.5 gigawatts on days with strong winds. As more new wind farms go online, Erbring said, exports are bound to increase even further.
Germany's Federal Agency for Nature Conservation has stopped a planned 500 million-euro ($690 million) wind farm in the North Sea because of concerns about its impact on the environment and bird life, Die Zeit reported, without saying where it obtained the information.
Electricity consumers will pay an extra 3.53 euro cents (5 U.S. cents) per kilowatt-hour of consumed power in 2011 to subsidize renewable-energy generation, the country's four high- voltage power grid operators said today in an e-mailed statement. That compares with 2.05 euro cents this year.
Unforeseen problems at the Alpha Ventus wind farm have lukewarm investors reevaluating the billions of euros they have invested in offshore wind energy. Germany's first offshore wind park was dealt a blow with the failure of two turbines due to inferior materials.
E.ON AG and Vattenfall Europe AG are among utilities leading a worldwide push to develop offshore wind power, overcoming a lack of work ships, stormy seas and higher costs to make almost twice the profit they would on land. ...While the benefits of stronger, more frequent breezes offshore are evident to some investors, the risks imply the need for caution, said the EBRD's Zielinski. "Offshore wind is not for the faint-hearted," he said. "And you need deep pockets."
On some nights in northern Germany, utilities pay customers to keep their lights on. In a country with deep green roots, it's an odd fix for an odd problem: Local distributors have no place to store wind energy and no way to dispatch it to areas that need it.
After years of getting government incentives to install windmills, operators in Europe may have become their own worst enemy, reducing the total price paid for electricity in Germany, Europe's biggest power market, by as much as 5 billion euros some years, according to a study this week by Poeyry, a Helsinki-based industry consultant. ..."Wind is playing an important role in spot-price volatility because it's very difficult to predict when more power is coming on line," said Ruxandra Haradau-Doeser, an analyst at Bankhaus Metzler in Frankfurt.
Abstract: The allure of an environmentally benign, abundant, and cost-effective energy source has led an increasing number of industrialized countries to back public financing of renewable energies. Germany’s experience with renewable energy promotion is often cited as a model to be replicated elsewhere, being based on a combination of far-reaching energy and environmental laws that stretch back nearly two decades. This paper critically reviews the current centerpiece of this effort, the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), focusing on its costs and the associated implications for job creation and climate protection. We argue that German renewable energy policy, and in particular the adopted feed-in tariff scheme, has failed to harness the market incentives needed to ensure a viable and cost-effective introduction of renewable energies into the country’s energy portfolio. To the contrary, the government’s support mechanisms have in many respects subverted these incentives, resulting in massive expenditures that show little long-term promise for stimulating the economy, protecting the environment, or increasing energy security. In the case of photovoltaics, Germany’s subsidization regime has reached a level that by far exceeds average wages, with per-worker subsidies as high as 175,000 € (US $ 240,000)
As much as 100 billion euros ($143 billion) in planned investments in German offshore wind farms are at risk as developers struggle to get funding, jeopardizing the deepest emissions cuts in the European Union. Bochum's municipal utility expects its first wind park to be delayed by up to two years, Managing Director Bernd Wilmert said. HEAG Suedhessische Energie AG, a regional energy supplier known as HSE, had to go to twice as many banks as it would have needed last year to finance a 1.3 billion-euro North Sea wind farm, Chief Executive Officer Albert Filbert said.
German chancellor Angela Merkel has laid the foundation for a "milestone" renewable energy plant that answers the big question surrounding wind energy: what happens when it isn't windy? ...Some renewable energy experts have expressed doubts that the electrolysis will be as effective as planned and warn that the technology is a long way from being market-ready. ..."The technology is very elaborate and very expensive," says Dr Peter Schäfer of the Jülich research centre, which operated a similar hydrogen storage system powered by solar cells.