Wind turbine with damaged rotor blades
Photo: Bernd Thissen/ dpa
The most recent tenders by the federal government for the further expansion of renewable energies in Germany have met with very cautious interest from potential investors.
The Federal Network Agency originally wanted to tender new onshore wind farms with a total capacity of 1190 megawatts (MW).
The authorities have already reduced the volume to 604 MW.
Nevertheless, only bids for around 203 MW were received, as the network agency announced on Tuesday.
This is now the third wind tender in a row that has been signed.
This means that the expansion of wind turbines is likely to fall short of expectations for the foreseeable future.
And it's not just wind energy that's lacking: At the same time, the federal government wanted to tender for new solar systems on buildings and noise protection walls with a capacity of 202 MW.
But only bids for 128 MW were received.
Wind power companies have been complaining for years about rising raw material prices, stagnant supply chains and the bureaucratic processes involved in building new plants - and are therefore holding back on investments.
However, the expansion of renewable energies lags far behind what is politically desired.
High inflation and rising interest rates on loans have once again aggravated the situation for companies this year.
The federal government has now recognized the problem.
"We are currently creating new framework conditions for more successful tenders next year," says Klaus Müller, President of the Federal Network Agency.
The Bundestag has decided that the agency may raise the maximum values in the tenders in order to make the investments more attractive for the companies.
According to Müller, these skills are to be used “as soon as possible after the necessary tests have been carried out”.
"Economically not feasible"
"The small number of bids submitted shows a reluctance that urgently needs to be ended," says Dennis Rendschmidt, Managing Director of the VDMA Power Systems association, which represents wind turbine manufacturers, for example.
"This uncertainty in the market is jeopardizing the future expansion of onshore wind energy," says Rendschmidt.
»Cost increases and interest rate developments mean that projects with the previously applicable maximum value are not economically feasible.«
The problems are reflected in the balance sheet of the energy industry.
According to an initial calculation by the Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) for the current year, the sector will emit 260 million tons of CO₂ this year - the values for the remaining days of the year are estimates.
This is more greenhouse gas emissions than the sector is legally allowed to produce.
The energy industry will therefore miss its sector target, which was also the case in the buildings and transport sectors last year.
It is true that 44.6 percent of the electricity generated in Germany this year will come from renewable sources, an increase of four percentage points compared to last year.
But the share of coal-fired power generation, which is particularly harmful to the climate, will also increase from 28.5 percent to 31.9 percent.
Behind the development are the progressive phase-out of nuclear power and the war-related failure of Russian gas supplies: The last three nuclear power plants will still account for six percent of electricity generation in Germany this year, predicts the BDEW, last year it was just under twelve percent with six nuclear reactors.
And gas-fired power plants will still account for 13.5 percent of electricity generation this year;
In 2021 it was still 15.4 percent.
One consequence of these shifts: CO2 emissions from the energy industry are increasing, contrary to the long-term trend.
Compared to the reference year 1990, 260 million tons of CO2 means 44 percent lower emissions - but the target for the energy industry for this year was 45 percent or 257 million tons of CO2.
"Of course, this development is a step backwards for the climate," said Kerstin Andreae, General Manager of the BDEW.
“So we have to do everything we can to get back on track as quickly as possible.”