Interview

“We want an honest debate”

Interviewed by Jörg-Rainer Zimmermann, 19 Nov 13
Deutsche WindGuard recently analysed the investment and operating costs of onshore wind-energy projects on behalf of the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) and the German Engineering Federation (VDMA). The study, “The Costs of Onshore Wind Energy”, reached a clear conclusion: with mean electricity-production costs ranging between EUR 0.06 and EUR 0.11 per kilowatt hour (kWh), onshore wind energy continues to be one of the most cost-effective renewable energies. “Thanks to technical optimisation and new concepts for wind turbines, the electricity-production costs of wind turbines have continued to decline significantly in the last few years,” says Thorsten Herdan, head of the German Engineering Federation’s power systems segment. In an interview with new energy, BWE President Sylvia Pilarsky-Grosch talks about the potential for cost reductions and her hopes for an informed debate with politicians.

new energy: The German Wind Energy Association and the German Engineering Federation have presented a cost analysis of wind energy. What were the aims of the study?

Sylvia Pilarsky-Grosch: The study reveals the costs of onshore wind energy. This is an important step towards an honest debate. The numbers provide a good foundation for forthcoming political discussions.

ne: In your opinion, what are the most significant findings of the study?

Pilarsky-Grosch: We now have a proper account of cost curves. It is clear that there is potential for reducing costs in individual cases, though not to the extent that is suggested at times.

ne: Comprehensive data on all German wind farms have never previously been collected. What was done to ensure representative results?

Pilarsky-Grosch: The basis of the study was a well-founded, scientific survey for wind turbine manufacturers, operators and project developers.

ne: Why was only the onshore situation taken into account?

Pilarsky-Grosch: Onshore and offshore are two completely different industries and sectors, which are independent of each other. They must also be examined separately. Onshore wind energy is an established technology and a cornerstone in the switch to renewables. It was therefore important to evaluate the costs in this sector at this particular point in time.

ne: So who is the study aimed at?

Pilarsky-Grosch: It is aimed at experts in the energy sector, at policymakers in individual states and at the federal level, and at our own sector.

ne: Do you also expect that the findings will feature in the new Renewable Energy Sources Act? If so, what effect do you think they will have on the wind sector?

Pilarsky-Grosch: Yes. I am confident that the joint study by the VDMA and BWE will add some objectivity to the debate. The BWE is the contact point for wind energy. With this study, we are participating in a discussion about successfully advancing the switch to renewables and creating a more stable and reliable environment for a sector with some 117,900 employees.

 

An outline of the study “The Costs of Onshore Wind Energy” can be accessed here in German: http://www.wind-energie.de/infocenter/studien

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