Who’s making the most out of the wind?
25,980 – that was the number of wind turbines in operation in Germany at the end of 2015 – just counting those on land. That is 1,115 more than the year before. The installed capacity in Germany amounted to 41,652 MW. The top-ranking states: Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, Brandenburg.
2015 was a good year for wind energy. Since Germany’s first wind turbines were registered in 1992, no previous year – except for 2014, the record year – saw such a leap in the number of new onshore turbines. In total, according to Deutsche WindGuard GmbH on behalf of the German Wind Energy Association and VDMA Power Systems, 25,980 wind turbines were in place at the end of last year, 1,115 more than a year before. On top of this, there are 792 wind turbines which feed electricity into the grid from offshore wind farms on the high seas.
New capacity in 2015: where were most of the new turbines built?
The largest number of new onshore wind turbines in 2015 – as in 2013 and 2014 – were built in Schleswig-Holstein, the new capacity there totalling 888 megawatts (MW). North Rhine-Westphalia ranked second, followed by Lower Saxony. The biggest jump came in Baden-Württemberg: whilst the south-west of Germany only accounts for just under 4 per cent of all new installations, more than one-fifth of the total capacity there (694 MW) was added last year (144 MW).
Also, the Onshore Wind Energy Agency used the register of facilities at the Federal Network Agency to survey how many new turbines were erected last year. The figures are not far apart, but there are some minor discrepancies compared with the Deutsche WindGuard statistics for 2015.
Status at the end of 2015: Lower Saxony ahead of Schleswig-Holstein and Brandenburg
After a good 2015, the table of the Länder with the most wind turbines was headed by Lower Saxony – even without the offshore facilities. And it beat Schleswig-Holstein and Brandenburg – the non-coastal state with the largest proportion of installed capacity – by some distance. It is of course no surprise that the city-states of Bremen, Hamburg and Berlin are lagging well behind (cf. diagram). However, taking the long-term view, the focus of wind energy use has shifted: the traditional dominance of the north has declined somewhat in recent years. At the end of 2015, 42 per cent of the aggregate capacity was installed in the northern Länder, 44 per cent in central Germany and 14 per cent in the south. The south’s share increased slightly in the course of last year, building on the trend of the preceding three years.