Less wind energy from the North Sea – but less of a decline than on land


The wind power plants in the North Sea delivered significantly less electricity in the first half of the year than in the same period of the previous year due to the weather. However, because periods of calm depressed the wind energy yield on land even more, the share of North Sea electricity in total German wind power generation rose to 16.6 (previous year: 15.6) percent in the period from January to June, according to the network operator Tennet in Bayreuth.

For Tennet managing director Tim Meyerj├╝rgens, this development shows how necessary an expansion of wind energy at sea (offshore) is for security of supply and a successful energy transition. “Especially in years with less wind, the ratio of generated wind energy shifts towards offshore,” he said. “There we generate around twice as many full-load hours on average as onshore and can thus partially compensate for lulls on land.”

Overall, the wind energy transmitted by Tennet from the German North Sea fell by 16 percent to 9.67 terawatt hours (TWh) in the first half of the year. 1.81 TWh came from wind turbines in the Baltic Sea that are not part of the Tennet network area, 17.5 percent less than a year earlier. The total offshore wind yield in Germany in the North and Baltic Seas was around 11.5 TWh in the first half of 2021.

Including the wind power generated on land – around 47 (previous year: 60) TWh – according to Tennet, Germany achieved a total wind yield of 58.15 TWh in the first half of the year. According to industry estimates, the offshore wind turbines alone can mathematically supply around 8 million households with electrical energy.

The capacities in the North Sea, i.e. the output of the wind turbines installed there, stagnate at 6.68 gigawatts. For the first time in many years, there will be no new wind turbines at sea in 2021. From the middle and especially towards the end of this decade, however, the industry expects “increased to very strong expansion”. The federal government aims to expand to 20 gigawatts by 2030 and to 40 gigawatts by 2040.

Even today, more electricity is generated from wind in Germany (2020: 25.6 percent) than from coal (24.8 percent). In view of the foreseeable end of nuclear and coal-fired electricity, considerably more “green” energy is required, especially since Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier has just significantly increased the demand forecast for 2030. For millions of electric cars, heat pumps or “green” hydrogen, the electricity consumption should therefore be 10 to 15 percent higher than previous assumptions.


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