The general election is just around the corner. A lot has happened in the offshore wind energy sector in the past year: New expansion targets, a new spatial planning and, for the first time, areas for the production of hydrogen at sea. At the same time, however, not a single offshore wind turbine will be built in 2021. And that is just one of many construction sites – Federal Association of Wind Farm Operators Offshore (BWO) explains in the statement.
“We are optimistic about the future, but see an urgent need for action for the new government in some areas,” says Stefan Thimm, Managing Director of the Federal Association of Wind Farm Operators Offshore eV (BWO).
“Offshore wind energy plays a key role in achieving greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045, but of course it also needs the appropriate backing from politics. In our opinion, the prioritization of the allocation of suitable areas at sea urgently needs to be reconsidered. At least since the adoption of the Climate Protection Act, it has to be clear to us that climate protection has so far been treated far too neglected ”.
The BWO sees an urgent need for action in a total of four areas: Under the keyword “secure expansion”, the BWO recommends that politicians ensure that 1) a long-term perspective is created and thus an even expansion can take place; that 2) the market design is reformed and stable framework conditions are created; that 3) a clear framework for the production of green hydrogen at sea and 4) a better cooperation between climate protection and nature conservation emerges.
Under the heading of market design, the BWO continues to advocate contracts for difference, as it enables the expansion of offshore wind energy at minimal cost.
Stefan Thimm says “Many of our European neighbors rely on contracts for differences and we can only encourage Germany once again to do the same. On the one hand, the costs of the energy transition can be demonstrably reduced with the help of contracts for difference and, on the other hand, the operators of offshore wind farms are often not only active in Germany. The same framework conditions in Europe are positive and also facilitate the implementation of international projects. “
For the integration of green hydrogen into the future energy system, the BWO sees it as important that clear targets for hydrogen generation at sea are created and that additional areas are designated for so-called other energy generation. In addition, there is a need for a reliable legal framework for authorizing the production of hydrogen at sea and the transport of green gas. It must also be ensured that green hydrogen can compete with fossil fuels.
When it comes to nature conservation, the BWO encourages a national discussion process on the use of the sea and more pilot projects for the co-use of suitable areas. “Here it is particularly important to us that climate protection and nature protection are not played off against each other,” says Stefan Thimm. The conservative view of the use of the available space urgently needs to be replaced by innovative approaches. “The energy transition is probably the largest and most important social project of this century. I am sure that with the help of bold new approaches and solutions, sufficient areas for wind energy at sea can be found in order to meet the requirements of climate protection, ”emphasizes Thimm.