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The German wind power industry Global market development Source: EWEA/BWE (European/German Wind Energy Association) Since the 1990s, Germany has led the way in using and developing wind power. In the 1980s, there was only a small number of wind turbines (WTGs) with a total output of a few megawatts. By the end of 2005, the total installed output in Germany had already reached 18,428 MW, distributed across 17,574 WTGs. 1,808 MW was installed in 2005 alone (1,049 WTGs). This corresponds to an 11 % growth over the previous year. Germany remains one of the world’s largest wind power markets. In 2005, the worldwide market volume for wind power comprised more than 10 billion euros, with new installations amounting to around 10,000 MW. Around half of these were produced by the German wind power industry. With a turnover of 4.5 billion euros, German turbine manufacturers and suppliers produced more than 50 % of the turbines and components manufactured worldwide in 2004. Development of the technology: Five hundred-fold increase in energy yield since 1980. Growth: 100-fold increase in the output of wind turbines in just 20 years. It will increase another five-fold with the introduction of 5 MW turbines. Based on the wind power installed in Germany, 33.8 billion kWh of electricity can be generated in an average wind year. Thus in 2005, this corresponded in real terms to around 5.5 % of Germany’s net electricity consumption. In future, the expansion of wind power in Germany will no longer be confined to land but will also increasingly occur offshore. The potential for developing offshore wind power will be tapped in the next few years and offers enormous opportunities for growth, both nationally and internationally. The expansion of wind power in Europe has seen the rise of a corresponding industrial sector in Germany, which today has become the worldwide market leader. The German wind power industry now employs around 64,000 people – another 10,000 jobs can be expected solely from the development of the German offshore wind industry. German companies have considerable experience in manufacturing, operation and maintenance. Several hundred companies are also active as suppliers. Leading position internationally thanks to high quality standards The upcoming industry profits from the internationally recognised high quality standards of German machine building. Customers purchasing complete turbines or components from German wind turbine manufacturers benefit from both their technological expertise and longstanding experience in constructing and operating WTGs. Germany has long been the worldwide market leader for components. With large reference projects for instance in Brazil, China and south-west Europe, German wind turbine manufacturers and suppliers have developed an international reputation. As in many other economic sectors, the wind power industry is becoming increasingly globalised. For example, components produced in Germany, such as gears, generators and rotor blades, are installed in Danish wind turbines. The German wind industry’s export quota continues to grow steadily and, for suppliers, this has already reached more than 60 %. The experience acquired by the wind power industry in the national market also benefits products destined for export markets. The German wind power industry has thus become a key player and, with its products, is at the forefront internationally. Increasingly powerful turbines In the last 30 years, turbines have substantially increased in size. In 1982, the installed rated output of the largest wind turbine was less than 50 kW. Today, an average wind turbine has a rated output of around 2 MW. Meanwhile, wind turbines have been developed with rated o utputs of up to 6 MW and rotor diameters greater than 120 metres. To date, three German manufacturers have constructed the first 5 MW class turbines – initially on land. In future, this turbine class is primarily intended for use in offshore wind farms. A turbine of this size is capable of supplying an average of 4,500 households with electricity per year. Thanks to the industry’s commitment to lowering costs, technological improvements and mass production, the economic efficiency of the wind power industry is continually increasing. The electricity produced by wind turbines is generally fed into the grid. New concepts for storing energy are now making, however, stand-alone solutions interesting. For instance, there are pilot systems that convert the electricity produced into hydrogen. This is stored in pressure vessels and can supply electricity and heat to end users via a connected cogeneration plant. This represents an ideal solution for supplying renewable energy to off-grid systems previously driven by diesel generators, thus making a further contribution to climate protection. The Renewable Energy Sources Act and its significance for Germany’s wind power industry With the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), the German legislators have laid the framework for the successful development of the wind power industry. The guaranteed compensation for supplying energy to the grid provides investment security for operators and the wind power industry alike, while creating considerable pressure to reduce costs. This has promoted both the use of wind power and the development of the wind power industry. Here valuable experience has been gained that is reflected in the high quality of German wind power products, the technological progress and the continually sinking costs. The aim of the EEG is to establish all renewable energy technologies on the electricity market and to increase their market share to at least 20 % by 2020. The German legislators realised that investments would only be made in new technologies if they are profitable and entail a calculable risk. The central element of the EEG is a minimum guaranteed price, which is paid for electricity fed into the public mains which has been generated from renewable energy sources. The grid operators are legally obliged to accept electricity from renewable energy sources and to provide remuneration in accordance with the tariffs stipulated by the EEG. The amount of remuneration differentiates between wind, hydropower, solar, biomass and geothermal energy, and also depends on the size of the system and, in the case of wind power, on the location. Grid-connected onshore turbines The following features of the EEG relate to wind power: limitation of the remuneration to a total of 20 years, differentiation according to the system yields and capacities, annual degression of the feed-in tariffs by 2 % for new installations without inflationary adjustment as well as examination and adjustment of the feed-in tariffs and regulations at four-year intervals. The so-called differential costs relative to the average market price for electricity are passed on to electricity consumers and are therefore equally distributed in accordance with consumption. Currently (as of 1 January 2006), the initial remuneration for wind power is 8.36 cents/kWh for a minimum of five years according to the qality of the site; the basic tariff is 5.28 cents/kWh. In the fourth quarter of 2005, the average stock market price on the Leipzig EEX electricity market was just under 6 cents/kWh (average price in 2005 was around 4.6 cents/kWh).
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