Phasing out nuclear and speeding up wind

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Since deciding in summer 2011 to completely phase out nuclear energy by 2022, Germany has fully committed itself to a “path to the energy of the future – reliable, affordable and environmentally sound”. A rapid expansion of Germany‘s offshore wind capacity is foreseen, requiring optimal use of the practical experience obtained throughout the North Sea region.

While the UK is leading the pack in offshore wind energy with more than 2 GW of installed power, Germany retains its leading European position in terms of total installed capacity in on- and offshore wind energy. This position has been further strengthened by the recent decision to fully phase out nuclear energy by 2022. Moreover, amendments have been made to seven laws, including the Renewable Energy Sources Act. These amendments continue to provide stable support for onshore wind power and have improved the support framework for offshore wind power.

Within this new political scenario, activities are ramping up in the development and realisation of offshore wind projects off the coast of Germany. The Hamburg region is rapidly developing into one of the key centres for offshore wind development and installation. 25 offshore wind projects have been licensed, bringing the overall licensed capacity to 8,500 MW.

Most offshore wind projects are located relatively far from the coast (20 – 60 km) in fairly deep waters (20 – 40 m). Consideration is being given to innovations in foundation concepts and operation and management (O & M) in order to bring down installation and operation costs. Important lessons can be learned from more than 50 installed offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 4.3 GW. The majority are off North Sea coasts.

As of 18 September global wind experts are gathered at Husum, Germany, the bi-annual wind energy trade fair. With over 1200 exhibitors and 36000 expected visitors, a fair like Husum shows that wind energy is big and serious business. Wind energy is an important technology to help phasing out nuclear, not only in Germany, but worldwide.

An exhibition like Husum is the place to be, to meet peers to evaluate the progress made in turbine development, in foundation design, but also in installation concepts and O&M strategies. To exchange information and create networks to translate new concepts and innovations into future cost cutting practices. But also to discuss possible ways to unlock the current discussion about the German offshore wind grid connection and help the industry move forward.

Posted 17-09-2012 Category: Renewable Energy Tags: wind energy , renewable energy , offshore , onshore

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