FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany installed 1,626 megawatts (MW) of new onshore wind power capacity in the first six months of 2018, industry groups said on Thursday, adding that total installations this year could run to between 3,300 and 3,500 MW.
Wind energy is one of the most important drivers of Germany’s transition to renewable energy, with onshore wind power already accounting for 14.7 percent of total power generation volumes in Jan-Jun, according to industry statistics.
The additions in the six months measured in MW were down by 29 percent however from the same period a year earlier, engineering group VDMA and wind energy association BWE said in a statement.
The installed total is now 52,282 GW.
The groups said the projected drop in 2018 - which would be down from a record 5,333 MW in 2017 - was due to a lack of assurance from policymakers that sufficient new capacity would be tendered at auction in coming years.
This comes after the government dropped 20-year fixed payments for new capacity, which had applied to capacity approved before 2017, leaving operators less likely to commit to new wind farms.
The move has already hit the profitability of operators, said VDMA, which represents companies like Siemens Gamesa, Nordex, Senvion and MHI Vestas.
“We need a clear signal from Berlin for a steadily expanding corridor of new constructions up to 2030 in order to quickly fill the project pipeline again,” said Matthias Zelinger, head of VDMA’s Power Systems unit.
This was all the more important as Germany wants to produce 65 percent of power from renewable sources by 2030, for which it needs plenty more wind capacity, he said.
VDMA and BWE’s demands include more transport grids being built while old thermal power plants should be phased out.
Germany’s onshore wind constructions accounted for roughly half of Europe’s total in the first half of 2018, shown in separate figures by lobby group WindEurope, which also named France and Denmark as major drivers.
Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Alexandra Hudson