Onshore Wind Energy Potential in Germany: UBA’s Study Includes Setbacks

By Paul Gipe

While researching for my new book I came across some data I hadn’t yet posted on Germany’s Umweltbundesamt’s study of the wind energy potential on land. I found an English summary in DEWI Magazin, 43, August 2013.

The UBA study found 13.8% of land area suitable for wind energy; 49,000 km2, and that with contemporary wind turbines there is the astonishing 1,200,000 MW capable of generating 2,900 TWh/yr. This is nearly five times Germany’s current consumption of electricity. The study was done by Fraunhofer-Institute for Wind Energy in Kassel (IWES).

Of interest to those weighing the compatibility of wind energy with people and communities is the type of exclusion zones used and their requirements. Setbacks were based on noise standards in German law for night time emission limits.

Germany’s night time noise standard.

  • Residential: 35
  • Mixed residential: 40
  • Village: 45

UBA used 40 dBA in the study.

What is striking is that the study did not use IEC III turbines or the potential could have been even greater.