The Association of German Offshore Wind Farm Operators (BWO)
The Association of German Offshore Wind Farm Operators (BWO) is the national organisation for all businesses that develop, construct and operate offshore wind farms in Germany. This allows us to combine forces to achieve a successful energy turnaround in Germany and Europe. Founded in early 2015 as AGOW (offshore wind working group), BWO currently has 18 members. By the end of 2018, our members in Germany had 1,305 wind turbines with an installed power of around 6,382 MW connected to the grid. In 2018, wind farms in German waters produced a total of 18.8 terawatts of electricity, with constantly decreasing costs.
Offshore wind power is a key player in the renewables mix. Offshore wind power is a cornerstone of energy security. Germany is benefiting from its natural resources, with the North and Baltic Seas offering a unique combination of excellent wind conditions and shallow depths. Here, wind turbines provide double the yield they would produce on shore and deliver energy about 363 days per year. Even with energy requirements increasing, an optimal expansion of renewables will enable offshore wind to meet 30 percent of the energy needs in Germany by 2050, according to the Fraunhofer IWES.
Offshore wind power is getting cheaper and cheaper. Since 2012, prices have decreased by up to 50%. The first wind farm operators have already decided to completely finance attractive projects through the electricity exchange without the fixed income provided by the German renewable energy legislation. After more than a decade of technology development and market introduction, the costs of climate-friendly, sustainable offshore wind power are on a par with newly built gas, coal, or nuclear power plants.
Offshore wind power generates many jobs. The industry today employs around 27,000 people, of which 40 percent are in North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. A comprehensive value chain (development, construction, operation) creates additional jobs in many businesses. This means that offshore wind power creates value across the nation. In Northern Germany, offshore wind power is a pillar of structural change. In the wake of the shipyard crisis, offshore wind power protects locations and jobs thanks to the production of components for offshore wind turbines and substations and the use of ports as logistics centres.
What we do
We derive political recommendations from our members’ pooled experience and expertise. We are also a platform for our members, representing their interests, acting as a point of contact, and enabling the exchange of information between them.
We help wind power thrive by evaluating the prior development of offshore wind power and analysing the consequences of future conditions for the continued development of wind power, the German economy and the protection of the environment.
We ensure an exchange of experience We promote a continuous dialogue between political players on both the state and the federal level. As experts, we are contacted by politicians and representatives of the relevant ministries, particularly in connection with upcoming legislation.
We are committed to maintaining a reliable regulatory framework. We are in constant contact with the authorities such as the German Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany (BSH) and the state authorities. We lobby to ensure that politicians take our experience into account for regulations and requirements, as well as future decisions because a successful energy transition requires an approval and infrastructure framework that enables a cost-efficient expansion of offshore wind power.
The reduction of the expansion path of offshore wind power envisaged by EEG 2017 threatens to stifle the positive development of the offshore wind power industry in Germany, particularly at the onset of the 2020s.
Combining forces with the coastal states and the trade unions, we initiated the Cuxhaven declaration in September 2017, which asked the German government to expand capacity in Germany by at least 20GW by 2030 and 30GW by 2035. Increasing capacity in Germany and Europe as a whole is the only way to ensure costs will go down reliably and to encourage further technological innovation, which will help fight climate change.
Available converter capacity should be utilised as soon as possible. This would avoid the costs associated with the under-utilisation of the corresponding grid connection systems while contributing to a stable expansion of offshore wind power. This would provide more cheap electricity for consumers, protect German manufacturers from sudden disruption and allow the industry to pursue further cost reductions.
The success of the energy transition in Germany depends on the expansion of renewables, the expansion of the grid and progress in sector coupling. The expansion of the major transmission systems should have the top priority here. Further delays should be avoided. In addition, all existing options for overcoming onshore network bottlenecks and making the existing grid infrastructure more efficient should be used. These options include measures for improving grid utilisation, especially through digitisation.