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The German government has formulated the goal of increasing the installed capacity of offshore wind power from 7,8GW today to 70GW by 2045. A new study by the Fraunhofer IWES research institute has calculated in various scenarios that even more than the 70GW of offshore wind energy planned by the federal government by 2045 could be realised in the German North and Baltic Seas.
On the one hand, this requires strategies for a more efficient use of the available space. In addition, the offshore wind power potential can be increased by using additional areas, for example with new offshore wind power technologies, in such a way that other users and important concerns such as nature conservation are not adversely affected. According to the Fraunhofer study, the total potential of offshore wind power in Germany could increase to almost 82GW.
The scientific study, jointly commissioned by the Federal Association of Wind Farm Operators Offshore (BWO) and the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW), has modelled future offshore wind energy potential in the Exclusive Economic Zone (AWZ) of the Federal Republic of Germany using three area settings.
The subject of the investigation by Fraunhofer IWES was initially calculations of the yields and efficiencies on the areas available according to the spatial plan. With a dense planning of the wind farm areas of sometimes more than 10 megawatts per square kilometer (MW/km²) corrected power density, the full load hours also fall on average well below the yields in wind farm clusters that are already fully developed today. The use of larger and higher offshore wind turbines will have a positive effect on the yields and efficiencies of the wind farm areas in the future. The latter applies both to new areas and to areas already used for offshore wind energy generation.
In a further step, possible future co-use potentials were analyzed. For this purpose, the Fraunhofer IWES first held discussions with stakeholders from the forms of use nature conservation, fisheries and military. Based on these discussions, an analysis and summary of obstacles and potentials of joint use was carried out. Future technical developments such as floating systems may also at least partially meet the requirements of previous forms of use.
Subsequently, additional scenarios with a higher total installed capacity through co-use were defined and simulated together with the clients. The results of these scenarios show that less dense development in the currently planned areas and relocation of these capacities to co-use areas can lead to a significant increase in full load hours and wind farm efficiencies. In this way, full-load hours could be realized at a similar level as in today's fully developed clusters, even with further future expansion.
Overall, several co-use scenarios that exceed the federal government's expansion plans of 70 GW were examined. With a total potential of 81,6 GW of installed capacity, yields of up to 292,1 TWh can be achieved with around 3.580 full-load hours of the wind farms in the German EEZ, according to the results of the investigations.
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