Germany’s Future Is Tied To Wind

The Federal Republic of Germany has an estimated population of 83.8 million people. In 2019, utilities used renewable energy (53.8%), coal (29.4%), nuclear (13.9%), and natural gas (10.5%) to generate electricity for the country. Onshore and offshore wind farms are the primary sources of renewable energy in Germany.

Germany’s dependence on nuclear power and expensive coal imports contribute to the country’s high electricity costs. In 2019, the average cost of electricity in Germany was 32 ¢ per kWh, compared to 12.5 ¢ per kWh in the United States.

In 2016, Germany signed the Paris agreement on climate change. The country has committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels by 2030. Germany, like the European union has committed to become greenhouse gas emission neutral by 2050.

The German government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions includes plans to dramatically increase offshore wind capacity by 2040. The government’s plans include installing 20,000 MW capacity of new offshore wind projects within the next ten years.

German utility, EnBW and Aerodyn Engineering have announced plans to develop an innovative, floating offshore wind turbine. The twin-rotor, 15 MW capacity floating prototype is being developed in the northern German port of Bremerhaven.

Winds offshore are stronger and more consistent than winds onshore. Stronger winds equate to higher power output from the wind turbines. However, offshore wind turbines require a platform on the sea floor, which increases the development cost. Floating offshore turbines may eliminate the significant cost for the wind turbine platform.

The United States has significantly greater offshore wind than the entire continent of Europe. Offshore wind could be a cost effective replacement for coal or natural gas fueled power plants along the eastern and western seaboard of the United States.

States along the eastern seaboard have begun an aggressive offshore wind development programs from Maine to North Carolina. Sadly, state governments on the west coast have not opened their eyes to the vast energy potential of offshore wind.

Jack Kerfoot

 Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”


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