By the end of 2013 Germany had a total of 34,200MW wind power installed. An additional 3100 MW capacity installed in 2013 means that it stays on track for German Energiewende renewable expansion targets. 

It remains the leading market for wind energy in Europe and the country with third largest installation numbers worldwide, only behind China and the US. Capacity growth was at a 10-year maximum as the market share of 3MW turbines increased substantially. Cumulated global installations reached 318 100 MW.

The new wind power generating capacity installed in Germany in 2013 was at a level not seen for 10 years. 

The nominal power of more and more of these new wind turbines (WTs) was 3MW. The 1093 new onshore wind turbines in 2013 equate to an additional generating capacity of 2851MW. The new offshore generating capacity in 2013 was 240MW from 48 wind turbines. Germany now has a total wind power generating capacity of 34,179MW.

The renewable energies in 2013 accounted for 24.7 percent (147TWh) of total electricity consumption. Wind energy amounted to 8 percent of total electricity generation in Germany. Despite the additional wind power generating capacity, the electricity generated from wind was less in 2013 than in the previous year due to the poorer wind conditions. Electricity generation from biogas and photovoltaic installations increased by 2.5TWh and 1.9TWh respectively.

Last July, the German Parliament (Bundestag) passed the Federal Requirements Plan Act (BBPIG) and laid the basis for the start of the technical planning for up to 36 expansion projects. This also includes the extra-high voltage direct current transmission lines which will transport the wind energy from the coast to the southern German states. The expansion of further lines is behind schedule. An offshore grid development plan was prepared by the transmission system operators for the first time and has been approved by the Federal Network Agency.

The utilization of feed-in management was slightly less in 2012 compared to 2011. Power output loss fell compared to 2011 by 8.5 percent to 385GWh, because there was no extreme and simultaneous feed-in of wind energy and photovoltaic energy. 

In the onshore market, wind turbines of 3-5MW size are starting to become established in the onshore market in Germany. The wind turbine manufacturers have brought out various new models of differing design. The average wind turbine diameter has now increased to 95.4m and the average nominal power to 2.6MW. Besides expansion in the states on the northern German coast, Rheinland-Palatinate is pioneering the way for wind energy at inland locations.

With offshore, as in 2012, the new offshore wind power genera- ting capacity worldwide was about 1.6GW. Large wind farms were connected to the grid in the UK and Denmark. In total, 2245 wind turbines having a total nominal power of 6890MW are in use in 90 offshore wind farms. 

In Germany, the far-shore wind farm BARD Offshore 1 was completed. Also completed was the Riffgat wind farm (108MW nominal power). There has been a delay with connecting this wind farm to the grid because of the need to clear old munitions from the seabed. Seven other wind farms are under construction.

The report’s authors, Prof Clemens Hoffmann and Prof Andreas Reuter, director of Fraunhofer IWES, commented: “The expansion of electricity generation from renewable energy sources in Germany is continuing apace. Wind, solar, and bio- based energy now account for close to a quarter of Germany‘s electricity requirement. 

“Public acceptance of the switchover to renewable energy is high because most people realize that this is an investment in sustainable and efficient energy provision for the future. Indeed, the phrase ‘Energiewende’ is even now used by the international press to describe the global move away from fossil fuel usage and the transformation of energy systems. 

“The whole electricity generating industry is involved in a pioneering and immense project.

“Renewable energy utilization is now entering a new phase. Numerous offshore wind farms are under construction and will soon be connected to the grid. New generations of wind turbines mean that the expansion of wind energy onshore is being accompanied by ever better adaptation to location conditions. 

“A typical onshore wind turbine now has a nominal power of 3MW. Without developing more wind farm locations than in previous years, this meant that the new wind turbine generating capacity in 2013 was a record high. The urgently needed grid expansion is proceeding at speed with the planning processes for so-called electricity highways from north to south. Increasing attention is being put on energy system technology for integrating the various renewable energies.

“The stable political boundary conditions and the commitment for more than twenty years to withdraw from nuclear energy and fossil fuel energy has allowed a specialized industry to develop that has the know-how to be able to offer solutions for utilizing renewable energies not only in Germany but also throughout Europe and in other key foreign export markets. However, reform of renewable energy policy is in the offing. 

“The new German government aims to modernize the Renewable Energy Act (REA). The worlds of politics, business, and science do though have a huge responsibility here to effectively and successfully continue with the switchover to renewable energy without endangering public trust. 

“This is particularly so for the further development of wind energy in the southern states of Germany, some of which have set themselves ambitious targets for renewable energies. Rheinland-Palatinate has shown, for example, that it is possible to successfully utilize wind energy in heavily forested area.