The last tenders for offshore wind capacity in Germany ended with surprises: some projects no longer require subsidies. This was enabled by the substantial technology learning, economies of scale and cost reductions as well as the policy learnings achieved in Europe during the last two decades.
The German experience shows that policy makers need to find the balance between policy adaptability and strategic continuity. While there were significant regulatory changes through the transition to auctions and centralized pre-development of offshore wind sites, the political consensus on the goals of the energy transition persisted. This created positive conditions for private investment. But despite lower costs and some projects not requiring subsidies anymore, policy support is still necessary, especially in regions without the corresponding supply chain and effects of economies of scale.
The short study includes an analysis of the trends, challenges and drivers of offshore wind deployment in Germany as well as a summary of policy lessons focusing on target setting, support schemes, maritime spatial planning and grid connection. The short study was produced on May 16, 2019 as an accompaniment to the New England-Germany Energy Transition Forum in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
This early June 2020 update comes in advance of a (virtual, due to the ongoing pandemic) delegation trip of US experts in regards to offshore wind deployment in Germany. The update includes the “More Electricity from the Sea" agreement between the German Federal Government, the five coastal States and the three affected transmission system operators from May 2020 as well as the proposal tabled by the Federal Government to amend the offshore wind law from June 3, 2020.