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Germany to review wind quotas for grid saturation zones

Highlights

Annual review may cut quota from current 902 MW

Restrictions may shift from east to west

Q1 2019 wind curtailment hit record 3.2 TWh

London — Germany's federal grid regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) is reviewing onshore wind quotas in the country's grid saturation zone along the coastalregions that could result in a shift in restrictions, a BNetzA spokesman told S&P Global Platts Tuesday.

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"System analysis is showing a shift of grid bottlenecks from east to west," the spokesman said.

This could result in a partial relocation of restrictions from Mecklenburg-Pomerania to Lower Saxony.

The spokesman confirmed the federal government has already provided its views, with states and lobby groups now being consulted ahead of a final decision.

According to a report by German daily FAZ Monday, the government plans to cut the annual quota for new wind turbines in that zone to 786 MW in 2020 from 902 MW this year, due to increased congestion on north-south lines.

Curtailment of German wind power hit a record 3.2 TWh in Q1 2019, BNetzA data showed last month.

Last year, curtailment of German renewables fell 2% on year to 5.4 TWh, but compensation for renewable energy operators rose to Eur635 million afterhaving doubled in 2017.

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4 GW ONSHORE WIND TENDERS PLANNED FOR 2020

Germany plans to tender over 4 GW of onshore wind contracts in 2020. The three most recent tenders were all undersubscribed as projects face planning hurdles.

Subsidies for up to 2.3 GW remain available this year across four auctions.

The slow down in permitting has meant grid saturation zone wind quotas have only been hit once this year.

The quota is set at 175 MW for the current August tender, for a total 650 MW.

Meanwhile, politicians from the impacted northern states and the Green Party have voiced opposition to plans to cut wind quotas.

Energy minister Peter Altmaier, who made grid expansion his top priority last summer, is calling for an onshore wind summit in September to ease theplanning problem.

The government may also consider wind quotas for the south after launching a working group last year to improve acceptance of onshore wind as statesintroduced new planning rules.

Local opposition, aviation, military and land availability issues are all impeding development.

The total installed German onshore wind capacity reached 53.2 GW by end-June, with a further 6.7 GW installed offshore.

Wind power set a new record in H1 with 66 TWh generated, replacing lignite coal as Germany's biggest source of electricity.

-- Andreas Franke, andreas.franke@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Manish Parashar, manishparashar@spglobal.com