Status of Wind Energy Development in Germany
With 50,018 MW, Germany has the most wind power capacity [32.5%] installed in Europe and was the leader in new installations [44%] in 2016. Last year 28,217 wind turbines on- and offshore generated 12.3% of the electricity in the country. Wind made the largest contribution to electricity generation from renewable energy sources with 80 terawatt hours total and the industry is also the largest employer among the renewables with 142,900 jobs. In a worldwide comparison, Germany comes in third with 10% of the installed capacity, right behind China [43%] and the United States [15%].
Wind Power Germany: Capacity and Generation
|Year||New installed capacity||Power generation|
|2016||5443 MW||79.8 TWH|
|2015||5818 MW||79.2 TWH|
|2014||5278 MW||57.3 TWH|
|2013||3327 MW||51.7 TWH|
|2012||2415 MW||50,7 TWH|
|2011||2085 MW||48.9 TWH|
|2010||1551 MW||37.8 TWH|
Expansion of wind energy
New installations onshore increased by 24% compared to the prior year. 1,624 wind turbines with a maximum total capacity of 4,625 MW were installed on the mainland in 2016. Offshore 156 units with a peak power of 818 MW were connected to the grid. Compared to previous year installation numbers dropped by 64%. The German wind industry grew by about 5,443 megawatts in total and the expansion in 2016 has been spread out across the whole country.
42% of all installed onshore wind capacity in Germany can be found in wind farms in the two most developed states Lower Saxony [9,327 MW] and Schleswig-Holstein [6,449 MW]. Lower Saxony is with 19.5% the leader in state comparison regarding the gross changes, followed by Schleswig-Holstein [14.1%] and North Rhine-Westphalia [12.2%].
Development of wind turbines
Wind technology has developed greatly in recent years. The trend toward larger and more powerful wind turbines continues. Since the turn of the Millennium, the 2 to 3 megawatt class dominates the market, but the importance of the 3 to 5-megawatt class is increasing significantly.
2016 the power of a newly installed wind turbine on land averaged 2,848 kW. That’s 155% more than in the year 2000 [1,115 kW]. Today the average rotor diameter of a turbine is with 109 m almost 88% higher than in the year 2000 [58 m]. The hub height also increased by 80% [71 m] to 128 meters. Offshore, the average power of the newly installed units was 5,244 kW. The rotor diameter is just below 145 m and the hub height 104 m.
Jobs in the wind energy industry
The German wind energy industry was booming during the last decade, creating thousands of jobs. With a share of 43%, the wind energy industry is the largest employer among the renewable energies [330,000 jobs total] but the employment has decreased by 4% compared to the previous year. In 2015, 142,900 people in Germany were working in the wind industry – 122,400 of them were employed onshore and 20,500 offshore.
Wind energy investments
Wind energy was the strongest investment division 2015, which reached 66.5% [€9.7 billion] of the entire renewable investment volume of €14.5 billion. Although 2015 recorded the second highest investment volume to date, investments decreased by 20% compared to the record year 2014 [€12.1 billion]. €5.2 billion were invested in onshore wind power, the investment volume offshore added up to €4.5 billion.
The German population is strongly supporting the energy transformation. According to a representative survey by TNS Emnid on behalf of the Renewable Energy Agency [AEE], 93% of the respondents find the further expansion of renewable energy important. Inter-generational equity and climate protection are the priorities according to the respondents. 52% of the respondents would accept wind turbines in their own living environment. The agreement increases to 69% if the respondents already have experience with wind farms in their neighborhood. According to the survey results, fossil fuels are less accepted by the consumers. Only 6% of the respondents said they would be comfortable with a coal power plant in their own neighborhood.
Take a closer look at the factsheet.
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