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Fraunhofer study: Offshore wind energy garanties a stable and economic power supply in future

More than 6 billion Euro per year can be saved in German power production costs provided all of the suitable areas in the North and Baltic Seas were used by offshore wind energy production.

This is the result of a Fraunhofer IWES study commisioned by the Offshore Wind Energy Foundation. The IWES research team around Dr. Kurt Rohrig has analysed three scenarios. In one of them, a focal point was set on offshore wind energy, whereas in the other ones priorities where onshore wind energy or photovoltaics.

Offshore wind farm alpha ventus in the German North Sea
© Fraunhofer IWES

If offshore wind energy is gradually extended from today’s 3 Gigawatts (GW) of installed and currently under construction power up to 54 GW in 2050, total costs for the power system are reduced by 900 Million Euro compared to rapid expansion of onshore wind energy, and even by 6.1 billion Euro compared with a photovoltaics-scenario.

As much as 92 % of this cost advantage account for so-called flexibility costs. When electricity generation varies very much, the costs of compensation by storage, back-up power plants and derating of unusable power are higher. Offshore, howewer, the wind is blowing so constantly that at 340 days of the year electricity can be generated. In addition, the power level can be predicted more accurately than onshore.

Therefore, offshore wind turbines can provide ten times more balancing capacity in order to smooth power supply than onshore systems, and costs are only one quarter. Furthermore, considerable cost savings could be achieved by a North Sea offshore grid for Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, and Norway that facilitates electricity trade.

Expert contact:
Dr. Kurt Rohrig,,
Dr. Stefan Bofinger,
Weitere Informationen:
Study for download
Fraunhofer IWES

Uwe Krengel | Fraunhofer-Institut
Further information:

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