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Replace old wind turbines to raise German capacity – Habeck

(Montel) Germany can overcome its problem of finding more space for wind turbines by swapping thousands of older devices for new, more powerful ones, said economy minister Robert Habeck.

Some 12,000-13,000 turbines in the country – with 1-2 MW average capacity – were approaching 25 years of service and therefore due for retirement, he told members of the renewable energy lobby BEE late on Wednesday. 

Replacing these with newer turbines of 5-7 MW capacity would greatly increase generation with little change to overall land use, he said, without adding any details on how he expected these new builds to be financed.

Double capacity?

Germany wants to double its onshore wind power to 115 GW by 2030, part of its overall goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2045. Current policy calls for 2% of land to be turned over for wind power generation.

However, protesters have objected to installing wind farms near residential or scenic areas, while environmental groups have raised concerns for birds flying near the turbine blades.

Renewable power developers must think creatively to help the country meet its goal of installing 10 GW of new wind capacity per year, he said, adding that Germany was on track to install slightly less than 4 GW this year.

However, he said the country was likely to exceed 10 GW of installed solar capacity this year, which would be a first. Its renewable plans call for a quadrupling of solar capacities to 215 GW by 2030.