German Wind Power Has Potential to Plug ‘Nuclear Gap’

Onshore wind energy alone can provide up to 65% of Germany’s electricity requirements, according to a new study published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES) on behalf of the German Wind Energy Association (BWE).

With just 2% of land area in Germany available for wind power production, Fraunhofer calculated that with current technology, 198 GW could be installed (as compared with the current installed capacity of 27.2 GW at the end of 2010), yielding 390 TWh/year.

“Based on a current national electricity demand of around 600 TWh per year, onshore wind power alone could cover 65% of Germany’s power requirements. This shows that renewable energy technologies can easily replace nuclear power, with Germany’s wind power potential alone being substantially higher than the share of nuclear power in the country’s current energy mix. In 2010, nuclear plants only delivered around 140 TWh of power to the German system,” comments BWE’s president Hermann Albers.

Looking at the various German Federal states, the study shows that the wind power potential is largest in those states with the least development to date, such as Bavaria, where 80 TWh could be produced annually, and Baden-Wuerttemberg, which could generate 45 TWh. At the moment, this potential is largely untapped.

The study assumes the installation of wind turbines of a rated power of 3 MW, and hub heights of 100-150 meters, reaching an average production of 2,000 full load hours per year.

Leave a Comment