Germany does not have enough ports and ships for offshore wind targets

Germany’s wind industry has warned that the country’s targets for expanding the renewable energy are increasingly threatened by supply-chain bottlenecks.

Various industry groups have called for investment in ports, converter stations and ships, They say the money is needed to prevent capacity constraints that would restrict the pace of expansion of wind energy.

Not only is Germany phasing out coal, but it switched off its last nuclear power plants in 2023. The country is assessed as one of the weaker in western Europe in terms of likely economic performance this year.

Its installed wind capacity of 8.5 gigawatts. Whilei t has a 2030 goal of 30 gigawatts, last year it added just 0.25 GW, none of it in the North Sea. In fact, grid bottlenecks meant that the share of North Sea wind power fell in 2023 to a five-year low, TenneT Holding BV said last week.

“We can see that the port of Cuxhaven is already working to capacity, so we need to expand now,” said Dennis Rendschmid, head of the manufacturer’s group VDMA Power Systems.

Grid operators have been struggling to connect the offshore wind farms to the mainland. Four areas of more than 6 GW in total are expected to experience delays of between three months and two years, according to the country’s Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency.

German industry groups want changes to the way Germany’s offshore wind auctions work. Jens Assheuer, chairman of industry group WAB, said that the tenders recently announced by the energy regulator were likely to create oligopolistic structures. He felt that auctions should be restricted to two projects or 2 gigawatts per bidder, rather than huge projects being sold to industry giants such as BP. “If one of these huge projects is not realized, the entire supply chain will collapse,” he warned.