The global wind energy business is flourishing. Although China and the USA now have more installations than Germany, German industry continues to reap the benefits.
2013 was a good year for Germany’s wind power industry. The Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology IWES projected that around 2.5 gigawatts (GW) wind capacity was installed in the country last year. This is the largest installation of wind energy in Germany in the last ten years.
Offshore parks in particular led the way: The wind parks Riffgat and Bard Offshore were completed; in Borkum West and DanTysk additional installations were constructed. As soon as all of the installations constructed in 2013 were connected to the grid, offshore capacity doubled in comparison to 2012.
“Wind energy thereby remains one of the pillars of Germany’s transition to renewable energy sources,” asserted Fraunhofer IWES. Onshore, experts observed a large number of new installations outside the traditional wind energy states of Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Brandenburg: Rheinland-Pfalz constructed the largest number of installations – a first for a more mountainous German state.
Global figures for 2013 are not yet available. However, according to “Windmonitor”, from 2011 to 2012 the number of wind energy installations internationally grew from 238 GW to more than 282 GW. This equals a growth in capacity of 18.5 percent. The largest number of new installations took place in China and the USA with around 13,000 MW each. Although growth in China was somewhat less than the very strong increase seen the years before, the USA had a record number of installations.
The strong German export industry benefits from this development even if China’s wind market has largely sealed itself off. In addition to the global business with onshore wind energy installations, Northern Europe’s offshore markets hold “great potential growth for the wind industry based in Germany,” according to Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI). The steadily increasing number of industrial parks along the Northern German coastal area is evidence of “the unique locational advantage of Germany for market access to the European offshore sector,” according to GTAI. GTAI also states that most well-known international manufacturers of wind energy installations have production facilities in Germany. The supply industry also makes a significant contribution to the industry’s high sales.
Wind is the interface that is a recurrent theme through the key areas at Hannover Meße: Research, automation, energy and subcontracting. For example, Industrial Supply along with the company Maschinenfabrik Wagner/PLARAD is organizing the “Wind Energy Supplier Forum” at the Suppliers Convention. At the display Renewable Energy at the trade fair Energy, wind will be focused on along with geothermal and photovoltaic energy. The global market leader Vestas will be present along with Enercon, Germany’s largest plant manufacturer. The German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) is providing a stage for discussions dealing with wind at the Renewable Energies Forum. “HANNOVER MESSE 2014 is once again an important focal point for the power industry,” says Dietmar Schütz of the BEE. “It is the showcase for and mirror of technological possibilities, which Germany in particular has at the ready even now to supply clean, secure energy in the future.”