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No expansion of offshore wind energy in the first half of 2021 – retain skilled workers and enable even capacity utilisation now

Berlin/Bremerhaven/Frankfurt, 15 July 2021 – For the first time in more than ten years, there will be no expansion of offshore wind energy in Germany this year. This expansion gap is not the expression of a lack of interest on the part of investors or a lack of strength on the part of the industry, but a consequence of political decisions, the effects of which are now becoming visible for the offshore wind industry in Germany. This development can only be counteracted by raising the expansion targets for offshore wind energy, retaining skilled workers, and concretising expansion plans for green hydrogen.

“The offshore industry has met the expansion target for 2020 as expected and has long since become a pillar of the energy transition. Offshore wind energy is reliable and competitive. It is an important economic driver and will continue to play a key role in achieving Germany’s recently increased climate targets. However, some market participants have either already left the offshore wind industry entirely or have relocated to other countries. This circumstance can be attributed to increasing international competition as well as a lack of prospects for offshore wind construction activities within Germany this year. German politics can no longer stand by and watch such a development. A swift industrial policy impulse is needed,” the industry organisations BWE, BWO, the German Foundation OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY, VDMA Power Systems, and WAB comment on the situation of the industry.

“In order to maintain the technological leadership of Germany as a wind industry location and to ensure domestic value creation and employment in the future, the expansion must be reignited and stabilised. Towards the second half of this decade, the German offshore wind industry expects an increasingly strong expansion. It is imperative to counteract this resulting imbalance in time. The acceleration of onshore grid expansion measures as well as an improved utilisation of the existing grids also remains important. Against the background of the climate targets specified by the German federal parliament, the existing offshore expansion targets no longer suffice. We need to adjust the targets for 2030 and 2040,” the industry organisations continue.

Maintain employment and further develop market design

The current expansion gap must be contained. At the same time, with a view to the expansion targets for 2030 and 2040, it will be necessary to maintain value creation and employment in Germany and to sustainably strengthen the attractiveness of the German offshore wind market. To this end, free capacities must be developed as quickly as possible while attractive and reliable investment conditions must be created. “Otherwise, Germany will struggle in an increasingly international market,” the industry organisations warn. Politicians should use the capacities available in the short term to reverse and positively stabilise this negative trend. Furthermore, qualification measures and a tailored export and research initiative should be deployed to sustainably protect the German offshore wind industry. The aim is to secure employment today and to make the strengths of the domestic offshore wind industry available for upcoming challenges, such as the development of a “green” hydrogen economy.

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