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Wind Energy in Germany

2020 wind energy numbers

Wind energy plays an important role for the successful energy transition to renewable energies in Germany. In 2020 wind energy had the biggest contribution to power generation from renewables. With an amount of 131 TWh electricity from wind power has reached an all-time record (126  TWh in 2019). This electricity generation by wind energy led to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of almost 101 million tons of CO2-equivalent.

Despite the moderate addition of wind power capacity in 2020, wind power supplied more than half of all renewably generated electricity and is, at 23.7 %, covering nearly a quarter of Germany’s gross electricity consumption in 2020 strengthening its position as the most important renewable energy source in the German electricity mix.

With the amendment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act 2021 (EEG 2021) which was adopted in December 2020, renewable energy targets were updated to reach 65 % of electricity share by 2030. To achieve this, the targets for land-based wind energy are set at 71 GW by 2030 and for offshore wind energy at 20 GW by 2030 and 40 GW by 2040. The latter values correspond to the also amended Wind Sea Act (WindSeeG) in 2020. Ambitious expansion paths, higher tender volumes including financial participation of communities, cost efficiency for renewables, system and market integration as well as measures for social acceptance are important elements of EEG 2021.

Furthermore, Germany strives for greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045, five years earlier than originally planned, and which is backed by the national hydrogen strategy from June 2020. So-called “green hydrogen” that has been produced using renewable energy will play a key role in enhancing and completing the energy transition by being an energy storage medium or enabling sector coupling.

In 2020 investments and economic impact in land-based and offshore wind energy were 4.93 billion € (6.46 billion € in 2019). While investments in land-based installations have shown an increase to 1.97 billion € (1.48 billion € in 2019), offshore investments dropped by almost 97 % to a very low 70 million € (2.13 billion € in 2019). Meanwhile economic benefits of 2.89 billion € (2.85 billion € in 2019) from wind energy operations stayed stable. Costs for operation and maintenance slightly decreased to 22.09 €/MWh land-based (22.64 €/MWh in 2019) and 21.98 €/MWh offshore (22.63 €/MWh in 2019). Land-based installation costs for 2020 are 1377 €/kW (1,373 €/kW in 2019).

Germany pursues a very broad R&D programme (7th Energy Research Programme), rather than focusing on a specific subject. Two of the main goals are to reduce the cost of energy and to increase turbine reliability. While land-based wind turbine design with new materials and innovative control strategies as well as precise prediction of electricity generation are subject ofcurrent research and development, the challenges of offshore research are maintenance and logistic issues but also increased turbine availability to ensure cost-effective operation. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy BMWi has provided a funds flow of 76.06 million € to fund 488 active and ongoing research projects in the field of wind energy in 2020. Additionally, 99 new research projects with a new funding amount of 65.32 million € have been approved in 2020. Another donor of subsidies for wind energy research are the federal states, who provided an additional funds flow of 5.64 million €.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is contracting party in the IEA Wind TCP for Germany. In 2021, German research institutions and industry representatives are involved in 18 of 23 active research tasks (11, 19, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31, 32, 36, 37, 39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46 and 47), the German participation on the new task 48 is planned.

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Megawatt

Total wind power capacity is 62,167 MW.
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Megawatt

Wind power capacity in Germany increased by 1427 MW in 2020 (Offshore 219MW, land-based 1208 MW).
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