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Analysis: German wind, solar capacity hits 95 GW with 3.8 GW added in H1

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Analysis: German wind, solar capacity hits 95 GW with 3.8 GW added in H1


Onshore wind adds 2.3 GW, offshore up 0.6 GW to 52.7 GW total

Solar adds 0.9 GW in H1 to 42 GW total

Monthly additions average above 0.6 GW over past 24 months

London — Germany's wind and solar portfolio now stands at 95 GW after 3.8 GW of new capacity was brought online in the first six months of 2017, an S&P Global Platts analysis of the latest data shows.

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Onshore wind registered the biggest gains with almost 2.3 GW added as already approved projects were rushed to benefit from last-minute set feed-in-tariffs before the new auction rules are set to slow down growth from 2019 onwards, the BWE wind lobby group said in its half-yearly update.

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By end-June, onshore wind capacity was 48.024 GW, it added with grid-connected offshore wind capacity at 4.749 GW, it said.

Solar growth rebounded in the first half of 2017 with 0.9 GW added, bringing total solar capacity to 42 GW by end-June, the grid regulator said Monday.

Total combined wind and solar capacity, also referred to as variable renewable energy (VRE) in Germany was 94.7 GW as of June 30, the data shows, with almost 15 GW added over the past 24 months with wind accounting for almost 12 GW.

However, while monthly wind additions have averaged around 0.5 GW over the past two years, monthly solar additions still only average around 0.125 GW amid a market change from the solar boom until 2013 followed by strong wind gains since the government reformed the way renewables receive their subsidies during the current legislative period.

For 2017, the lobby groups now forecast 0.9 GW of new offshore capacity to come online with annual onshore wind additions pegged at 5 GW.

The updated forecast is set to bring German wind capacity to 55 GW before the end of this year, while solar capacity could reach 43 GW by end-2017.

Germany's total wind and solar capacity is on track to reach 100 GW next spring with further changes to renewable subsidies expected after the elections this September.

All major new wind and solar projects already have to compete for subsidies in tenders, which have driven down costs for bill payers with the first offshore wind auction grabbing the headlines amid what were described by commentators as "sensational zero-subsidy bids" for three offshore wind projects.

However, with those offshore projects not having to be realized before 2025 and some concern about the current design of onshore wind auctions, the changes will mainly depend on further auction results, progress for grid infrastructure which is lagging behind as well as potential cost savings from technological changes.

Wind turbines and solar panels generated some 71 TWh of electricity in the first half of 2017, up 22% from a year ago and double the levels seen back in 2013 with wind and solar output now almost on par with coal and major gas plants that report output under so-called transparency rules, aggregated TSO data show.

--Andreas Franke,
--Edited by Maurice Geller,