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Germany’s 198-GW wind power potential can replace nuclear – study

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Germany’s onshore wind energy potential alone can provide sufficient electricity supply enough to replace nuclear power.

This is according to the study of the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology that was initiated by the German Wind Energy Association.

As of 2010, Germany ranks third in total global installed wind power capacity with around 27.2 gigawatts. This follows the United States with 40.2 GW and China with 44.7 GW.

According to the study, harnessing all the existing wind resource potential can yield 198 GW of installed capacity, which can provide up to 65 percent of the current electricity demand.

R.W.E. president Hermann Albers said the onshore wind energy can provide 390 terawatt-hours out of the current 600 terawatt-hours electricity consumption every year, showing the ability of wind energy to replace nuclear power.

“But the potential of wind energy is much larger than the share of nuclear electricity in the current electricity mix. For the German atomic power plants generated only about 140 terawatt hours of electricity last year,” he argued in light of the current debate about nuclear use.

Germany has decommissioned eight nuclear power plants out of 17 following Japan’s nuclear crisis. According to World Nuclear Association, Germany gets one quarter of its nuclear electricity from these 17 reactors.

Results showed that wind power potential is untapped in areas where there are good conditions for wind farms. These include the states of Bavaria in the southeast, where 80 terawatt-hours could be generated every year, and of Baden-Wuerttemberg in the southwest with 45 terawatt-hours wind energy potential.

In calculating these potentials, researchers used wind turbines with 3 MW power and hub heights about 100 to 150-meter hub heights, reaching an average production of 2,000 full load hours every year.

Mr. Albers said removal of existing height restrictions for wind turbines must be open for discussion during the coming energy policy meeting Prime on April 15. “The national economy is an extremely useful measure in order to exploit the full efficiency of the plants,” he added.


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