The increasingly serious climate change makes it necessary to exploit existing potentials of offshore wind. The wind industry and hydrogen association WAB e.V., as the voice of the supply chain, therefore used the stage of the 17th international WINDFORCE Conference to present a list of messages on the future of the wind and hydrogen industry to the German government, which is still in office. The motto of this year's conference was "Offshore Wind: Creating Value to Protect the Climate".
The WAB messages contain, among other things, the proposal for an interim target for offshore wind expansion of 35GW by 2035, to which the demand for "green" hydrogen from offshore wind energy needs to be added. The goal: to reverse the downward trend of employment and value creation in Germany through rapid tenders and new contracts. Onshore wind energy, the requirements for a domestic "green" hydrogen economy and the area of sector coupling are further contents of the messages to the outgoing and the future federal government.
For the new federal government, it should be about securing long-term export potential, the stability of the energy supply system and the attractiveness of the German market for international investors. For the necessary climate protection, we need to align the long-term targets with the energy demand," said Jens Assheuer, Chairman of the WAB e.V. Board.
In addition to climate protection, which cannot be delayed, the energy transition in this country should again be accompanied by growing employment. The current, politically imposed offshore wind expansion gap has led to the number of jobs in this sector in Germany falling further from around 24,500 to 21,500 since 2018, and with it investment. To this end, all acceleration potentials for bringing forward construction activities in the North Sea and Baltic Sea must be examined and short-term political support initiatives must be realised, for example in qualification, said WAB e.V. Managing Director Heike Winkler.
Lower Saxony's Energy and Climate Protection Minister Olaf Lies underlined the enormous potential of offshore wind energy and at the same time emphasised: "In view of the capacity of only around 7.5GW installed at sea so far, we are running out of time. We must set expansion targets that will enable us to achieve climate neutrality quickly. 40GW in 2040 is simply not enough here, he said. Much more offshore wind power is possible than we have so far envisaged in Germany. A recent study by the Offshore Wind Energy Foundation assumes a potential of 60GW at sea.
In a video message during the WINDFORCE Conference, Scottish Energy Minister Michael Matheson emphasised the economic opportunities arising from the energy transition with wind energy and "green" hydrogen. The most ambitious scenario of his ministry assumes that the industry has the potential to employ more than 300,000 people by 2045.