Herausgeber: juwi AG
With Onshore Wind Power the Energy Turnaround Becomes the Real Deal
- juwi CEO Matthias Willenbacher presents concept for renewable energy expansion and criticizes German government
- Possible savings of several billion euros
Husum/Wörrstadt - The German project developer juwi brings fresh wind into the debate about the energy transition’s speed and costs. juwi CEO Matthias Willenbacher presents his concept for the expansion of renewable energies at \"Husum WindEnergy\" fair. Willenbacher’s concept could save Germany several billion euros – while the nuclear phase out and the energy turnaround could continue as planned.
\"Onshore wind energy is already cheaper than energy produced in coal or gas power plants,\" Willenbacher says at a press conference. \"We have to continue to develop good sites and use the right technology. Taller towers and larger rotors guarantee that turbines generate more than 4,000 full load hours a year, even with the same or a smaller generator output. Even offshore wind farms cannot produce significantly more,\" adds the CEO. Every kilowatt hour of wind energy produced close to the consumer and with the right technology leads to a lesser need in reserve power plants; moreover, peak voltage power grids do not have to be developed and less than half of the storage capacity is needed. This concept leads to a dramatic reduction in the energy turnaround’s cost and guarantees that electricity will be available and affordable for everyone.
But what is the German government’s reaction?
It wants to slow down the energy turnaround! A year ago, the government talked about \"power gaps\" and \"blackouts\", now the development of renewable energies has suddenly become too fast. This change of mind is justified with the supposedly too high costs for citizens.
And the reality?
The figures tell a different story: A household in West Germany has to pay around 5,000 euros a year for energy - about 2,000 euros for heating (oil or gas) and mobility (gasoline or diesel). Around 1,000 euros are paid for electricity; just 120 euros are used in connection with the German Renewable Energy Law (REL). These costs are often mistakenly equated with the cost for the energy transition.
Fossil fuels are getting more expensive
\"Even if the REL differential costs rose to 160 or even 180 euros per household per year, this would still be cheaper than simply \"keeping on going,\" calculates Willenbacher. \"Fossil fuels are becoming more expensive every year. This will also be reflected in the energy costs. In the area of renewable energy, however, a rapid development with innovations will guarantee that prices tumble,\" says Willenbacher. \"A wind turbine generates power at constantly low costs, for around 25 years – and it is definitely cheaper than gas or coal-fired power plants\".
Offshore is the most expensive way
However, there are major differences in terms of efficiency even within the area of renewable energy. \"Onshore wind turbines generate by far the cheapest electricity,\" says Matthias Willenbacher. The costs for offshore wind farms are immense, offshore wind turbines are the most expensive way to produce energy, says Willenbacher. In addition, thousands of miles of power lines would have to be constructed and would cost customers an estimated 20 to 30 billion euros. \"Big power companies are allowed to build their wind turbines in the North Sea, although no foreseeable grid connection is available,\" says the CEO, shaking his head. \"Once again, consumers have to pay.\"
What is the government’s motivation?
It cannot be the fear of losing jobs - the number of jobs associated with offshore wind farms is too small. There are many more in the solar industry, about a quarter of these jobs will probably be destroyed by the government’s decision to cut the growth rate. \"People looking for the real motives behind chancellor Merkel and her cabinet’s decisions in energy policy should look at who is investing in wind farms in the North and Baltic Seas,\" says Willenbacher. \"It is the four German major power companies that are looking for a \"compensation\" for the loss of nuclear power plants to get even more money from consumers - even though they already earn more than what all customers have to pay for the REL.\"
Generating wind power economically
The cost-cutting potential of onshore wind energy compared to offshore wind power can even be greater if the existing remuneration structure is changed. Today, power from any given installation - no matter how good the site is - is compensated with a rate of 9 cents per kilowatt hour at the beginning. Only after a certain time – after five years according to the law - good sites are compensated with the basic five cents. \"It is not clear to me why wind sites are remunerated with 9 cents per kilo watt hour for five years or longer, although they produce power for 5,6 or 7 cents per kilowatt hour,\" says Willenbacher.
Matching compensation for each location
Therefore, juwi argues for a model in which very good sites get the compensation that is necessary for it’ s efficient operation - for example, less than 5 cents/kWh for sites with excellent wind (about 8 meters/second in 150 meter hub height). This compensation is guaranteed over the entire period of operation. This means that the remuneration for less windy sites is higher - up to an amount that is close to today\'s initial compensation. If at the same time the remuneration period is extended to 25 years, thus taking into account the long operating life of the plant, enormous economic costs could be saved without slowing the rapid development of wind energy in Germany.
The energy turnaround today
A flagship project for onshore wind energy is currently being built about 50 kilometers west of Mainz. In Ellern (Rhine-Hunsrück region) five 7.5 MW wind turbines located in a forest will produce clean electricity – for the first time in Germany. The five Enercon E-126 turbines are erected in an outstanding location with average wind speeds, with a hub height of more than 8 meters/second. The first wind turbine is connected to the grid these days.
For the coming years juwi has wind farms with a total capacity of several thousand megawatts in the pipeline – both in Germany and abroad. Important foreign markets are France and Poland, Central and South America and the United States and Canada.
The attached photos show:
1. juwi CEO Matthias Willenbacher (middle) during the press conference
2. and 3. The 7.5 MW Wind Turbine E-126 at the construction side near Ellern.
About the juwi group
juwi is one of the world’s leading specialists for renewable energies with a strong regional presence and offers project development as well as products for the energy turnaround. Our goal: 100 percent renewable energies. Our impetus: Work together to implement renewable energies economically and reliably with passion. From site selection to planning, construction and financing up to management – juwi is the competent partner for the energy turnaround with a regional focus.
juwi was founded in 1996 by Matthias Willenbacher and Fred Jung in Rhineland-Palatinate. Today, the company employs more than 1,800 people in 15 countries and had an annual turnover of approx. a billion Euro in 2011. Company activities include mainly solar, wind and bio energy, but also hydropower and geothermal energy as well as Green Buildings. and E-mobility. The company’s own research division (juwi Research & Development) develops solutions and components to make power from renewable energies even more reasonably priced. E-mobility and storage technologies (e.g. juwi Home Power, the battery storage system for solar power plants) complete the portfolio.
Up to date, juwi has constructed around 620 wind turbines with an output of around 1,200 megawatts; in the solar sector more than 1,500 solar power plants with a total output of around 1,200 megawatts. Combined, these plants generate approx. 4.5 billion kilowatt hours of green energy per year; that corresponds to the annual power consumption of approx. 1.3 billion households. In the bio energy sector, juwi has realized numerous wood pellet production plants, biomass and heat power plants, biogas plants and heating networks with contracting solutions. juwi has initiated an investment of more than five billion euro in the last 16 years for the realization of these projects.
juwi is one of Germany’s best and most sought-after employers. In 2012, the company was ranked among the Top 20 (in the category 501 to 2,000 employees) in the renowned competition organized by the \"Great Place to Work Institute\". The juwi group has offices in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Bulgaria, Great Britain, India, Singapore, South Africa, Chile, the USA and Costa Rica. In Germany, juwi has subsidiaries and regional offices in eleven German states.
Husum/Wörrstadt, September 20 2012
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About juwi AG
juwi is one of the world’s leading companies in the area of renewable energy with a strong regional presence. The company offers project development and EPC services as well as products and solutions for the energy turnaround. Company activities are mainly projects with solar and wind.
The juwi group was established in 1996 in Rhineland-Palatinate. Since the end of 2014, Mannheim based utility MVV Energie AG has been co-owner and partner of the juwi-group. juwi has about 1,000 employees worldwide, branches on all continents and is actively engaged in various projects all over the globe. Working together with passion to implement renewable energy economically and reliably is what drives us.
So far, juwi has realized around 840 wind turbines with a total capacity of approx. 1,800 megawatts at more than 100 sites. In the solar segment, more than 1,500 projects with a total capacity of around 1,400 megawatts have been designed and constructed. Combined, these energy systems produce around six billion kilowatt hours of clean energy per year, equalling the annual demand of around 1.5 million German households. Within the past 18 years, juwi has initiated an investment volume of around six billion euros to realize these projects.