In 2021, the transmission system operator TenneT transmitted around 20.3 TWh of offshore wind energy from the German North Sea to land. The annual result for 2021 is below a previous year’s value for the first time; in 2020, it was still 22.76 TWh. The decline is primarily due to weather conditions, as 2021 was a low-wind year overall. In Germany, total onshore and offshore wind power generation reached 114.37 TWh in 2021 (previous year 129.63 TWh). The share of North Sea electricity rose to 17.8% (previous year 17.6%).
“In Germany, the share of North Sea electricity in total wind power generation now accounts for almost one fifth and is proving to be a stabilizing factor in years with weak winds,” says TenneT COO Tim Meyerjürgens. “On average, we generate around twice as many full-load hours offshore as onshore and can thus partially compensate for lulls on land. Recently, however, there has been no increase in offshore wind power. We therefore welcome the plans of Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck to give priority to offshore expansion in the future and to strengthen co-utilization and cross-border projects in the process.”
In the German North Sea, the maximum value of the feed-in capacity of offshore wind farms in 2021 was measured on January 29 at 6,357 MW.
The capacity expansion of offshore wind farms in the German North Sea was 6,679 MW on the reporting date of December 31, 2021, with no change from the previous year. TenneT’s offshore transmission capacity is 7,132 MW in the German North Sea.
“The emergency program announced by the Federal Minister of Economics could give the energy transition the urgently needed momentum it needs to get back on track and achieve the ambitious climate protection targets,” continues Meyerjürgens. “The approach of integrated, forward-looking planning of the various grid infrastructures is also correct – because this is the prerequisite for achieving climate neutrality in 2045. For this, we urgently need modern, efficient planning and approval procedures. The goal must be to make planning as fast as construction.”
Wind turbines in the German Baltic Sea (50Hertz grid area) generated 3.7 TWh in 2021 (previous year 4.13 TWh), so that Germany’s total offshore generation in this period was 24 TWh (of which North Sea 20.3 TWh). Adding 90.37 TWh of onshore wind energy generated, the total yield in Germany comes to 114.37 TWh (previous year 129.63 TWh).
“There are enough levers to be tightened, for example, standardization of species protection and closer dovetailing of regional planning and planning approval procedures,” Meyerjürgens adds. “At the same time, it is important that the government ensures that we have the necessary political support for implementation on the ground and that we jointly campaign for acceptance.”
In the Netherlands, the transmission capacity of TenneT’s offshore grid connections amounts to 1,503 MW. These transmitted 4.71 TWh in 2021 (previous year 1.82 TWh). The strong increase compared to the previous year is mainly due to the fact that the commissioning of the Borssele Beta offshore grid connection system only happened in the second half of 2020. A further 3.53 TWh was fed directly into the Dutch TenneT grid onshore by Dutch offshore wind farms in 2021. In total, almost twice as much wind energy was thus produced offshore in the Netherlands as onshore. The total onshore wind energy capacity in the Netherlands is 4,500 MW, which generated 4.41 TWh in 2021.