Designated Wind Areas Unlikely to Suffice for Achieving German Wind Energy Targets

Navigant and Fraunhofer IEE investigate land availability for onshore wind

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In a project for the Federal Environment Agency, Navigant and the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy Systems (IEE) investigated the short and medium-term availability of areas for onshore wind energy. The study shows that even without blanket settlement distances, the currently designated areas are not or only barely sufficient to meet the wind energy expansion target of 65% by 2030. Against this backdrop, it appears necessary to designate additional wind areas.

According to the grid development plan, a total of around 74 to 86 GW of onshore wind energy capacity will be needed to meet the 65% target in 2030. Meanwhile, the calculated potential output, including existing plants, amounts to roughly 81 GW. This value is based on current or draft regional and urban planning. In practice, however, areas are further limited due to restrictions, e.g. in relation to species protection, air traffic control or lacking rights of way. In addition, there are uncertainties as to which share of the draft area will be implemented. The study also shows that, in the case of minimum settlement distances, wind area availability is further reduced. The impact of minimum distances for onshore wind energy was examined in greater detail by Navigant and Fraunhofer IEE in an assessment for the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

The report also compares the capacity potential with the auction volumes defined in Germany’s Renewable Energy Law (EEG) until 2025 and 2030. While the determined capacity potential still exceeds the auction volumes by 2025 and could thus help increase competition in tenders compared to today, the difference decreases considerably by 2030. Due to the identified uncertainties this would mean a clear risk of too little competition.

In the study, the energy experts developed recommendations for action to increase the potential capacity. These include an expansion of the wind area, the renunciation of blanket settlement distances, increased legal certainty for planning, and an improved usability and data availability of designated areas.

Download the German report (with an executive summary in English) from: uba.de

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