The sheer number of wind turbines in Germany is overwhelming! When the clouds open, they are often visible from the windows of a jet entering the country. Though they are primarily a rural phenomenon, there are about 60 turbines in the city of Hamburg. Some of the behemoths in Mecklenbourg-Verpommern have a capacity of 7.5 MW, more than twice the 3 MW found in North America. Yet, speaking as one of a group of journalists touring renewable installations recently, unless you are standing directly underneath a turbine was difficult to pick out the “whoosh” of their whirling blades from other ambient sounds. Germany’s wind industry is an integral part of the nation’s energy revolution, which at least 56% of the respondents to a poll taken in 2013 said was “the right thing to do.” Only 10% were actually opposed. Germany’s Wind industry is not like Southern California’s.
For several years now, Germany has been a model of renewable development. I recently joined a group of editors visiting some of the sites. This morning’s program is the second in which I ask them about their experience: Lessons from Germany – Part 2, Zach Shahan.
The official photo above captures a little of the spirit that pervaded Hamburg’s historic Fish Auction Hall. It was more like a party than a ceremony. The atmosphere could be summed up in three words: fine, wine and conversation. This was where the German Renewables Awards for Wind Energy were announced.
Germany was not the first European nation to install offshore wind farms. There were plants in Denmark and England years before the first turbine was erected a mere 500 meters off the quay wall of the Rostock international port in 2005. Tracing the story of Germany’s offshore wind farms, we repeatedly found references to the independent project planning company WIND-projekt GmbH, whose portfolio includes everything from on and offshore-wind turbines to energy storage.