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The amendment of the Wind Energy at Sea Act (WindSeeG) passed by the German Bundestag provides for an introduction to qualitative tendering criteria that can make the offshore wind supply industry more sustainable.
From the point of view of the wind industry association and hydrogen network WAB e.V., this is an important step for climate protection and employment. However, these criteria will only apply to half of the future tenders and will be less relevant than the price of the bid. The association views the prospect of the production of "green" hydrogen through offshore wind energy positively.
"We welcome the introduction of sustainability criteria with reference to decarbonisation, system efficiency and the skilled labour situation in the supplier industry," said WAB e.V. Managing Director Heike Winkler. "In this way, offshore wind farms contribute even more to climate protection even before they are commissioned and until they are dismantled, and can promote employment in Germany and Europe," she added.
The plan to tender 500 MW of offshore wind annually over six years from 2023 for the production of "green" hydrogen at sea is also an important step for the ramp-up of the "green" hydrogen economy. Here, it remains important that production must be economically feasible in order to quickly achieve the necessary scale.
The contribution of a planned offshore wind farm to securing skilled labour is also among the new tender criteria for centrally pre-screened areas. This is a good approach, but the law in its current form looks exclusively at the proportion of trainees. This should be supplemented with a training and qualification offensive supported by the federal government in order to secure the targeted wind energy supply after the expansion freeze of recent years.
It is also positive that repowering of existing wind farms is made possible - however, the requirements for security services continue to be an economic stumbling block. In view of the scarcity of land in the North and Baltic Seas, it is important to observe whether the exclusive use of existing foundation structures allows for a sensible increase in the efficiency of land already in use.
The federal government's support for more port capacities and special shipbuilding is also important for the implementation of the federal government's expansion targets. The federal government should support investments in infrastructure and provide flexible financing instruments - for the maritime industry, specialised shipbuilding as well as for the offshore wind supply chain.
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