VGB study: Wind Energy in Germany and Europe

The main objective of this study is to provide facts and plausibility checks related to electricity supply from wind energy in Germany and 17 European countries with emphasis on the current status and main challenges for reliable and secure power supply ...
  • Status, potentials and challenges for baseload application

  • Part 1: Developments in Germany since 2010

VGB Wind Study 2017

Thomas Linnemann and Guido S. Vallana

In Germany the installed nominal capacity of all wind turbines has increased eightfold over the last 16 years to 50,000 megawatts today. In the 18 most important European countries using wind energy today, the nominal capacity rose by twelve times to more than 150,000 megawatts.

One essential physical property of wind energy is its large spatiotemporal variation due to wind speed fluctuations. From a meteorological point of view, the electrical power output of wind turbines is determined by weather conditions with typical correlation lengths of several hundred kilometres. As a result, the total wind fleet output of 18 European countries extending over several thousand kilometres in north-south and east-west direction is highly volatile and exhibits a strong intermittent character.

An intuitively expectable significant smoothing of this wind fleet output to an amount, which would allow a reduction of backup power plant capacity, however, does not occur. In contrast, a highly intermittent wind fleet power output showing significant peaks and minima is observed not only for a single country, but also for the whole of the 18 European countries. Wind energy therefore requires a practically 100 % backup. As the capacities of all known storage technologies (even if used in combination) are insufficient to meet the required demand of today and even less of the future, backup must be provided by conventional power plants, with their business cases fundamentally being impaired in the absence of capacity markets.

Part two of this study is under preparation. It covers the analysis of the situation all over Europe.

File Type Date Size
Article PT-Journal 8/2017 | VGB Wind Energy Study 2017 Part 1: Developments in Germany since 2010 PDF 2017-09-15 2.75 MB
Artikel PT-Journal 6/2017 | VGB Windstudie 2017 Teil1: Entwicklungen in Deutschland seit 2010 PDF 2017-06-27 2.56 MB
Präsentation | VGB-Windstudie 2017 PDF 2017-06-27 9.77 MB