FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany connected 626 megawatts (MW) of newly built offshore wind capacity to power grids in the first six months of this year and expects to see total installations of 900 MW in the full year, five industry groups said in a joint statement on Thursday.
The installed total is now 4,729 MW and if 900 MW were achieved, it would exceed the 818 MW added in 2016. The rate of expansion could mean the industry will beat government targets of 6,500 MW for 2020, they said.
The wind power industry is moving away from an era of costly subsidies and is trying to become more commercially viable and to bring down costs for consumers.
The industry groups said that latest bids by companies to build and run turbines at zero subsidy costs in the next decade offered encouragement and reason to expand.
"This paradigm shift offers the next government chances to lift expansion targets to at least 20 gigawatts (20,000 MW) up to 2030 and at least 30 GW to 2035, utilizing the economic and industrial political potential of offshore wind," they said.
The industry groups are engineering body VDMA, wind energy group BWE, wind energy agency wab, the Offshore Windenergie Foundation and Group for Offshore Wind (AGOW).
Germany's network regulator in April approved 1,490 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind capacity on the German North Sea to be built in the middle of the next decade at costs well below expectations to utilities EnBW (EBKG.DE) and Denmark's DONG Energy (DENERG.CO).
This showed the renewable energy source can likely operate with far lower subsidies than it currently receives.
In the January-June period, the volume of additions was more than double the 258 MW added in first half 2016, so that by the end of June, new builds were equivalent to 78 percent of the total installed in the full year 2016, the industry group's statement said.
Reporting by Vera Eckert. Editing by Jane Merriman