Thursday, August 02, 2012

(BN) Wind Lobby Raises German Turbine Forecast, Offshore Concerns

A German wind-power lobby raised its forecast for the country's turbine installations this year after expansion in the first half was greater than anticipated.

Germany will add 2,400 megawatts of turbines, up from the prior estimate of 2,200 megawatts, Alexander Sewohl, a spokesman at the German Wind Energy Association, or BWE, said in an interview. First-half installations expanded by 26 percent to 1,004 megawatts, according to the lobby group.

"We're seeing the southern German states increasingly backing the German energy switch with new wind projects," Herrmann Albers, president of BWE, told reporters in Berlin. Accumulated installations in Germany rose to 30,016 megawatts.

Germany is investing in clean energy after saying it will phase-out nuclear power. It plans to build offshore wind farms covering an area six times the size of New York city and raising the share of renewable-energy output to at least 35 percent of total production by the end of the decade, from 25 percent now.

BWE forecast 46,000 megawatts of installations around the world this year. The figure may decline to 40,000 megawatts or less next year as the U.S. market is expected to decline "catastrophically" and Europe remain unchanged, said Thorsten Herdan, head of VDMA Power Systems, a manufacturers' group.

Pressure on prices to fall will continue to dominate the industry as Chinese companies try to sell more turbines in Europe after building up capacity that is capable of satisfying "the entire current global demand," Herdan said.

Offshore Delays

Germany added 45 megawatts of offshore wind turbines in the first half, less than expected, mainly on delays in connecting them to the grid, he said. Delays mean it won't reach a target to install 10 gigawatts of turbines at sea by 2020, Herdan said.

RWE AG (RWE), Germany's second-largest utility, last week said it postponed a decision on building the Innogy Nordsee 1 offshore wind farm until 2013 as it waits for the government to set out who will pay for delays. BWE expects 150 megawatts of offshore turbine installations in Germany this year, Albers said.

German turbine makers including Siemens AG and Nordex SE (NDX1) last year produced volumes valued at about 5.96 billion euros ($7.3 billion), or 16.1 percent of the world total, BWE said.

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