Wind energy: Electricity production from wind turbines could increase rapidly

Electricity generation by onshore wind turbines is likely to increase rapidly soon. This is the result of an analysis that the consulting firm Deutsche Windguard carried out for the German Wind Energy Association. At the beginning of the thirties, the plants should produce around 212 terawatt hours of electricity, according to the paper that SPIEGEL has received. And that is true if you only use the areas that have already been designated or planned for wind energy.

These currently make up around 0.9 percent of the Federal Republic. If the state were to release two percent of the country’s area for wind power, electricity production could even swell to around 500 terawatt hours, the study continues. That would correspond to almost the entire net electricity demand of the Federal Republic in 2019. “The results show that the potential of onshore wind energy has been underestimated by many,” says study author Dennis Kruse.

The main reason for the productivity boost is so-called repowering, in which old wind turbines are replaced by larger and more powerful ones. Since this enables a higher electricity yield per wind turbine, only about 10,000 more wind turbines would have to turn in Germany in 2030 than now, writes the Deutsche Windguard. There would then be around 40,000 systems with a total installed capacity of 200 gigawatts.

Since the wind blows more often at higher altitudes, new systems also deliver more reliable electricity. In windy locations in Schleswig-Holstein, the rotors could generate electricity for up to 4000 hours per year, according to the study. You would then be active for almost half of the year. That would also increase the security of supply in the German energy system.

Last year, wind turbines in Germany produced around 132 terawatt hours of electricity. Experts complain that the expansion of this energy source is not proceeding quickly enough. In fact, complicated bureaucratic requirements and complaints from wind power opponents delay the construction of new wind farms sometimes for years. There are also some protests against repowering. The federal government is striving to accelerate the expansion again.

“The study shows that the much discussed green electricity gap does not exist,” says the Wind Power Association. “If so, there is a gap in approval.”

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