Less wind energy from the north sea – decline but weaker than on land

Less wind energy from the north sea - decline but weaker than on land

Wind farms in the North Sea supplied significantly less electricity in the first half of the year than in the same period last year due to weather conditions. However, because periods of calm put even more prere on onshore wind power output, the share of North Sea power in total German wind power generation rose to 16.6 percent in the period from January to June (previous year: 15.6 percent), according to grid operator Tennet in Bayreuth, Germany.

Offshore expansion important

For Tennet CEO Tim Meyerjurgens, this development proves how necessary an expansion of offshore wind energy is for the security of supply and a successful energy transition. "Especially in lower wind years, the ratio of wind power generated shifts toward offshore", he said. "There, we generate on average about twice as many full-load hours as onshore and can thus partially compensate for lulls onshore."

Overall, wind power transmitted by Tennet from the German North Sea fell 16 percent in the first half of the year to 9.67 terawatt hours (TWh). 1.81 TWh came from wind turbines in the Baltic Sea, which are not part of Tennet’s grid area, 17.5 percent less than a year earlier. Germany’s total offshore wind output in the North Sea and Baltic Sea was thus around 11.5 TWh in the first half of 2021.

Including the wind power generated onshore – around 47 (previous year: 60) TWh – Germany thus had a total wind yield of 58.15 TWh in the first half of the year, according to Tennet. According to industry estimates, offshore wind turbines alone can supply around 8 million households with electrical energy.

No new offshore wind turbines in 2021

The capacity in the North Sea, i.e. the output of the wind turbines installed there, is stagnating at 6.68 gigawatts. For the first time in many years, there will be no new offshore wind turbines in 2021. However, from the middle and especially towards the end of this decade, the industry is expecting a "strong to very strong expansion". The German government is aiming for an expansion to 20 gigawatts by 2030 and 40 gigawatts by 2040.

Even today, more electricity is generated from wind (2020: 25.6 percent) than from coal (24.8 percent) in Germany. In view of the foreseeable end of nuclear and coal-fired power, however, considerably more is still needed "green" energy will be needed, especially since German Economics Minister Peter Altmaier has just significantly increased the demand forecast for the year 2030. For millions of electric cars, heat pumps or "green" hydrogen, the power consumption was allowed to be 10 to 15 percent higher than previously amed.

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