Most times, I keep hearing how Europe is a dull place for renewables with most solar and wind companies packing up and looking for markets elsewhere.
But this article from Bloomberg make me wake up and start looking at things in a different light…
As the report opens up, not since the allies leveled Germany in World War II has Europe’s biggest economy undertaken a reconstruction of its energy market on this scale.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is planning to build offshore wind farms that will cover an area six times the size of New York City and erect power lines that could stretch from London to Baghdad. The program will cost 200 billion euros ($263 billion), about 8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2011, according to the DIW economic institute in Berlin.
$263 billion in offshore wind? That must be around 100 GW of offshore wind alone, over 35% of the total offshore wind power capacity worldwide!
Germany aims to replace 17 nuclear reactors that supplied about a fifth of its electricity with renewables such as solar and wind. Merkel to succeed must experiment with untested systems and policies and overcome technical hurdles threatening the project, said Stephan Reimelt, chief executive officer of General Electric Co. (GE)’s energy unit in the country.
Already, the program is expanding markets for Suntech Power Holdings Co., the world’s biggest solar panel maker, and Vestas Wind Systems A/S , the largest maker of wind turbines. It’s of course hurting utilities from RWE AG to EON AG, which have stepped up cost-cutting to curb losses from closing nuclear stations early.
“The German energy transformation is as challenging as the first moon landing,” said Peter Terium, who in July takes over as chief executive officer of RWE, Germany’s second-largest utility. “It’s a huge challenge we’ll be able to master only if everyone works together.
Germany must then be one country to watch out for every renewable energy company, perhaps there are problems with market demand in the short term, but with such ambitions, there should be enough business for most companies for many years to come.