5. Wind power (Where does wind get its power from?)
Wind power: The main pillar of the energy transition
By 2050, Germany's energy supply should be largely greenhouse-gas neutral. Photovoltaics and wind will have to provide the majority of the energy, including the production of gas and fuels such as synthetic kerosene using power-to-gas and power-to-liquid processes.
Potential for the expansion of wind power
The potential for generating electricity from wind energy in Germany is enormous: just under 3100 terawatt hours (TWh) per year, 180 TWh of which could be generated in the North and Baltic Seas and 2900 TWh on land (UBA 2014, p. 55ff). This is more than Germany’s energy requirement, which amounted to 2700 TWh for electricity, heating energy and fuels in 2015 (UBA 2019a, p. 19).
A scenario for 2050
According to a scenario of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA 2019a) for a greenhouse gas-neutral Germany the total consumption of energy in 2050 would only be around 1600 TWh due to more efficient use of energy. The UBA assumes that wind power on land could contribute 414 TWh and off-shore wind power 180 TWh. In 2017, wind turbines produced 88 TWh of electricity on land (UBA 2018, p. 47). By 2050, 4.7 times as much wind power as in 2017 would have to be generated on land accordingly. Thus wind power still has to be greatly expanded in the course of the energy transition.
Improving wind turbines
Most people consider an exit from nuclear and fossil fuel energy important and appropriate. But when it comes to wind turbines in the area, many are skeptical. Indeed, there is no form of energy production without any disadvantages. In case of wind turbines these include shadows, light emissions, the danger to birds and bats, and the noise of the rotor blades.
The latter can now be reduced by technical measures, but not completely avoided. In the future, night lighting will only flash when an aircraft approaches a wind farm. A number of regulations are in place regarding the distance to settlements, road infrastructure (risk of falling ice) and natural habitats. Some incidents or hazards are avoided by temporary shutdowns. But we will probably have to get used to the increasing visibility of the energy transition in the form of wind turbines in the landscape.
Literature and Links:
- UBA (2015): Germany in 2050 – a greenhouse gas-neutral country. Online: https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/publikationen/germany-in-2050-a-greenhouse-gas-neutral-country
- UBA (2018b): Emissionsbilanz erneuerbarer Energieträger. Climate Change 23/2018, Online: https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/sites/default/files/medien/1410/publikationen/2017-10-26_climate-change_23-2017_emissionsbilanz-ee-2016.pdf
- UBA (2019a): A resource efficient pathway towards a greenhouse gas neutral Germany. Online: https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/publikationen/a-resource-efficient-pathway-towards-a-greenhouse
- UBA (2019b): Technische Maßnahmen zur Minderung akzeptanzhemmender Faktoren der Windenergienutzung an Land. hintergrund // mai 2019. Online: https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/publikationen/technische-massnahmen-zur-minderung
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