German Wind-Turbine Demand Rises as Merkel Plans Nuclear Exit

Demand for wind turbines in Germany increased in the first half of the year after the government decided to phase out the nuclear plants which provide 23 percent of the country’s generating capacity.

The country will add 1,800 megawatts of new turbines this year, up from 1,551 megawatts in 2010, the industry lobby group BWE German Wind Energy Association said today in a statement, citing rising installations in the first six months of the year.

“The domestic market is gradually gathering steam again,” Hermann Albers, the head of the BWE, said in the statement.

The increase may boost profit at German turbine makers including Nordex SE, Siemens AG and Enercon GmbH that saw the fallout from the financial crisis cut their total revenues by 5 percent to 4.97 billion euros ($7.14 billion) in 2010, the group said. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last month she will replace the country’s 17 nuclear reactors with a combination of renewable-energy sources and fossil-fuel-based power plants.

The government has raised subsidies for offshore wind farms as part of a plan to install 10,000 megawatts of sea-based turbines by the end of this decade, up from about 210 megawatts now. About 2,000 megawatts of offshore projects with a total value of at least 6 billion euros have been “contractually secured,” said Thorsten Herdan, president of VDMA Power Systems, the trade group for German machinery makers.

Albers said demand may be particularly strong in southern Germany, where the governments of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria have vowed to push turbine installations following the country’s decision to exit from nuclear energy by 2022.

Merkel shut down eight of the country’s reactors in March after the accident at the Fukushima reactor in Japan stoked safety concerns in Europe’s largest power market.

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