NRW Environment Ministry: Annual Wind Power Potential of 71 TWh/a in NRW

According to a study on the potential of wind power in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) presented by the NRW Environment Ministry, the state could generate up to 71 TWh annually. At present, about 2,900 wind power plants produce over 5 TWh/a, about 4% of the electricity consumption in NRW.

The wind potential study compiles all the relevant basic data for deciding about and designating areas for wind power plants, the ministry pointed out. The data as well as the study itself shall be made available online soon on the webpages of the new Energy Atlas NRW (Energieatlas NRW). The Energy Atlas provides information to all interested parties, especially the cities and municipalities. In July 2011 NRW already enacted a wind power decree, which outlines the ministries’ view of the legal possibilities for planning with respect to an expansion of wind power, providing a guideline for all parties involved.

In its coalition agreement the NRW coalition government comprised of the Social Democrats and the Alliance ’90/The Greens agreed to implement Germany’s energy policy shift away from nuclear power towards a renewable energy supply on the state level as speedily as possible. Wind power shall play a key role. The state is is planning to increase wind energy generation to at least 15% by 2020 and to at least 30% by 2025, State Environment Minister Johannes Remmel pointed out at the presentation of the wind power potential study.

A net wind power production of 20.7 TWh/a is needed to reach the expansion target for 2020 and a net power production of 28 TWh/a in order to meet the goal of 2025. This would be enough to supply 5 million respectively 7 million household with an annual consumption of 4,000 kWh, the NRW Environment Ministry said. Presently some 2,900 wind power plants produce over 5 TWh/a, the equivalent of 4% of the electricity consumption in NRW.

According to the State Environment Agency (Landesumweltamt) that conducted the wind power study, there is a potential for a net wind power production of up to 71 TWh annually. This would be more than twice the yearly consumption of private households in NRW, the Environment Ministry stressed. Although NRW would not be able to tap the potential fully, this showed the enormous growth potential of wind power in the state that consumed the most energy in Germany, Minister Remmel said. NRW is Germany’s most populous state and has many industrial installations.

Wind power expansion will surely be one of the topics discussed at today’s semi-annual meeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel with the sixteen State Premiers on the Energiewende, the ManyElectronics policy shift towards a renewable energy supply. Lately Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier called on the federal states (Länder) to scale back and coordinate wind power production as Germany was overachieving with regard to its renewable expansion targets.

Source: State of North Rhine-Westphalia

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