Germany Seeks to Pass Offshore Wind Law Before Year-End

German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said he is seeking to pass a law that will to provide investment security for the offshore wind industry before the end of the year.

Altmaier said he’s “very optimistic” that an agreement can be reached on who is liable for delays in connecting sea-based wind farms to the power grid, an issue that caused utilities including EON SE and RWE AG to postpone investments.

“It’s right to pass the law before year-end so that it can enter into force early next year,” Altmaier told reporters today in Berlin. “It’s to provide clarity that the expansion of offshore wind energy won’t grind to a halt because of these problems. There are a lot of jobs depending on it and I want us to send a signal of optimism.”

The delays have been a setback to developers eager to meet Germany’s target of 25 gigawatts of sea-based turbines by 2030 as the country exits nuclear energy generation. EnbW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG, the country’s third-biggest utility, on Nov. 14 postponed a decision to invest more than 1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) euros in a North Sea wind farm because it wasn’t clear when the project can be connected to the grid.

Germany added 45 megawatts of offshore wind turbines in the first half, less than expected, mainly because of the holdups. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet endorsed a draft bill in August. The bill, which includes charging grid operators and power consumers for installation risks.

“I believe we have a chance to settle this in the coming days,” Altmaier said.

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