New German government offshore wind auction rules lead to fewer permits

EPA-EFE/MAURITZ ANTIN

Wind turbines in Esens, Germany.

At the latest German onshore wind auction, only 363 MW of capacity won a contract, compared to the 670 MW that was on offer.


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The German Federal Network Agency, BNetzA, announced the results of the latest German onshore wind auction on October 19, noting that only 363 MW of capacity won a contract, compared to the 670 MW that was on offer.

According to WindEurope, over 900 MW of projects were pre-approved for the auction and had a permit. But only a third of these actually bid. The problem was many of them face legal challenges to their permit and wanted to avoid being exposed to penalties for non-delivery, WindEurope said in a press release.

“The German Government changed the design of their onshore wind auctions this year so that projects now need their permit in order to bid. Fine, this makes sense. The trouble is it’s got harder to get a permit for new wind farms in Germany: two years ago it took 300 days, now it takes up to 700 days. And even when you get a permit you’re exposed to legal challenge because the regional siting plans – that determine the location of wind farms – are not as robust as they should be,” the press release read.

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said the German Government were right to change their auction rules so that wind farms now need a permit before they can bid. “But it’s got harder to get a permit. And even when you get one, you’re exposed to legal challenge because the regional siting plans are not robust enough. Germany needs to address this. Otherwise, the auctions will continue to be under-subscribed like this last one. And the prices will be higher than they should be,” Dickson said.

“This adds to the uncertainty already facing wind in Germany, with the coalition failing still to define the auction volumes for the coming years. The wind industry is already laying people off in Germany. The Government have got to sort things out fast,” he added.

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