Yesterday, Germany officially switched on the biggest offshore wind park in the Baltic Sea, which will supply some 400,000 households with clean electricity.
The Arkona facility is a 385MW offshore facility, located about 35 kilometers from Germany’s Baltic island of Ruegen which went online on Tuesday. It is now operated by German utility company Eon and Norwegian energy giant Equinor. French energy provider Engie has signed a contract to buy electricity for four years from operator OWP Arkona, a joint venture between Eon and Equinor.
The project showcased “the German contribution, also the contribution of highly developed industrial nations to developing renewable energy,” Chancellor Merkel said, thanking both France and Norway for their involvement.
More than 40% of Germany’s electricity was generated using renewable sources such as wind and solar last year. The country aims to get 65% of its electricity from renewables by 2030 as part of its effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared with 1990 levels.
“In 2025, we will be well above the 40 to 45 percent target for renewable energy in Germany,” Merkel said in her weekly video podcast Saturday.
But the federal government has missed its targets in the past, giving up last year a goal to reduce greenhouse emissions 40 percent compared with 1990 levels by 2020. Germany’s much-lauded “Energiewende” (energy transition) policy is also struggling, with subsidies for wind turbines on the way out and the cost of transmitting electricity to consumers high.
Currently, one kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs 30 euro cents, or twice as much as in neighbouring France, still well supplied with electricity from nuclear plants. Observers at first warned of high costs and defeats like storms or sunken windmills which had plagued the early attempts. However, costs have been squeezed and techniques improved in the meantime, with 20 percent of Germany’s wind energy now coming from the sea.
German chancellor Merkel also said over the weekend that the government will decide by the end of the year whether to set sector-specific emissions targets or focus more on carbon pricing.