Wind Energy in Germany

Wind Energy in Germany

Germany has invested billions in wind power. Has it been worth it?

Germany generated 12.3% of its electricity in 2016 from wind turbines. This was down from 13.3% in 2015. This amounted to 79.8 TWh, compared to nuclear power (14.1% = 91.2 TWh). About 10% of wind power is generated offshore. The greatest hurdle is yet to be solved – grid integration.

In 2016, 5,443 MW of new wind power capacity was newly installed in Germany, for a total of 50.018 GW capacity. Each turbine generates an average of 1.77 MW. The latest onshore turbines stand 128m from the ground to the rotary hub, and the blades have a diameter of 109m. These can generate 2.848 MW.

At the end of 2014, 149,200 people were working in the sector. By the end of 2015, this number had fallen to 142,900.

45.9 billion euro was invested in new wind turbines from 2007-2015.

Wind turbines and energy in Germany, 2000-2016:

Wind Turbines Installed Capacity / GW Electricity Generated / TWh
Year New Total Onshore Offshore Total Onshore Offshore Total
2000 1495 9359 6.1 6.1 9.5 9.5
2001 2079 11438 8.8 8.8 10.5 10.5
2002 2328 13759 12.0 12.0 15.8 15.8
2003 1703 15387 14.6 14.6 18.7 18.7
2004 1201 16543 16.6 16.6 25.5 25.5
2005 1049 17574 18.4 18.4 27.2 27.2
2006 1208 18685 20.6 20.6 30.7 30.7
2007 883 19460 22.2 22.2 39.7 39.7
2008 866 20301 23.9 23.9 40.6 40.6
2009 952 21164 25.7 0.04 25.8 38.6 38.6
2010 754 21607 26.8 0.08 26.9 37.8 37.8
2011 895 22297 28.5 0.19 28.7 48.9 48.9
2012 998 23030 30.7 0.27 31.0 50.7 50.7
2013 1154 23645 33.0 0.51 33.5 50.8 0.9 51.7
2014 1766 24867 37.6 1.0 38.6 55.9 1.4 57.3
2015 1368 25980 41.2 3.3 44.5 70.9 8.3 79.2
2016 2237 28217
(947 offshore)
45.4 4.2 49.6 65.0 12.4 77.4

Source: Statistisches Bundesamt, BMiWE

The lowest power generated in 2016 was in June: 3.4 TWh (0.6 offshore, 2.8 onshore). The highest power generated in 2016 was in February: 10.0 TWh (1.2 offshore, 8.8 onshore). The record power generated was 36.6 GW on 8th February 2016 at 21:45. In total wind generated 12.3% of the total electricity production in Germany.

Windkraftanlagen in Deutschland

Map showing the distribution of windparks in Germany, 2011, courtesy of EEA