new energy: According to a recent forecast by WAB, we can expect to see at most 6,000 to 7,000 MW of installed offshore capacity by 2020.Do the future government’s plans represent a blow to the sector or are they simply a good way of getting out of the unrealistic target of 10,000 MW while selling the plan as a way to save money?
Ronny Meyer: I think we need to distinguish between what can realistically be achieved under the current conditions and the political aims, which can certainly be ambitious. However, the question of whether the target of 6,500 MW can be met in the current situation is not of primary importance – what is much more crucial is how investment security can be provided for the remaining 3,500 MW. At the moment, 3,000 MW are being installed or are already operational. If the coalition agreement doesn’t answer this question, then even the 6,500 MW won’t be certain. All figures will become irrelevant.
ne: I’d still like to ask another question about figures. What’s your opinion of the plan to install just 15,000 MW by 2030, rather than the 25,000 MW that were previously planned?
Meyer: We believe that we need more offshore wind energy to achieve the switch to renewables, so this lower figure is certainly open to criticism. If we want to achieve a complete switch to renewables, one that also includes transport and heating, we will need far more offshore wind-energy capacity in 2050. The interim target of 15,000 MW by 2030 is too low. In addition, the projects for the period from 2020 to 2030 are already at the planning stage, and companies are investing money because they had put their faith in the Federal Government’s original targets. The new government doesn’t always seem to realise that you need to plan in long investment periods in the energy sector.
ne: How will the new policy aims impact on the sector?
Meyer: If we don’t have the investment security that I already mentioned, no further orders will be placed in the German offshore supplier industry in the near future either – we have already had two years of no orders or hardly any orders, firstly because of the delays with grid connection and then because of the political debate on the “electricity price brake”. At some point, the companies will lose momentum and we will end up buying turbines from other European countries. To avoid this scenario, we suggest a two-year extension to the degression model, which will expire in 2017 under the current Renewable Energy Sources Act. Offshore wind-farm operators must continue to have the option of choosing a higher initial feed-in tariff of EUR 0.19 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for the first eight years. Then they just receive EUR 0.035 per kWh for the next twelve years. This means that offshore wind energy is already cheaper than photovoltaics over the entire 20 years, although we are still right at the start of the learning curve.