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Wind lobby says German onshore capacity rose in 2022 but still far from targets

FILE PHOTO: A wind turbine is seen after sunset near Weselitz

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's onshore wind power capacity rose by 25% in 2022 from a year earlier but was still too low to achieve the government's expansion targets, wind power lobby BWE said on Wednesday.

Wind power is central to Germany's transition to renewable energy. Berlin's goal is to generate 80% of electricity from the wind and sun by 2030, a target that has become more pressing with the drop of Russian fossil fuel exports to Germany last year.

Some 551 onshore wind turbines were installed last year in Germany, with a total capacity of 2,403 megawatts, the BWE and engineering association VDMA said in a joint statement.

That raised accumulated onshore capacity to 58.1 gigawatts (GW) by the end of 2022, but it was still far from the government's 2030 target of 115 GW.

Last year's expansion was fed by tenders the government had awarded in previous years, BWE said, urging the government to ramp up projects as quickly as possible, provide space for turbines, and accelerate permits.

"The measures initiated so far are not sufficient," said Dennis Rendschmidt, VDMA Power Systems managing director.

Last year, the economy and climate ministry presented a package of measures to speed up the expansion of onshore wind generation, including setting out a minimum percentage of land each federal state must make available for wind farms.

Around 0.8% of land in Germany is earmarked for onshore wind power, of which 0.5% has been used. Berlin aims to achieve a 2% target by 2030.

BWE and VDMA said available onshore tender volumes will reach a record of 12.84 GW this year, but they expected only 2.7 GW to 3.2 GW to be realised if the current pace of implementation does not change.

"The South in particular must finally deliver and must no longer shirk responsibility," Hermann Albers, BWE head, said.

Wind-swept northern Germany has traditionally housed wind turbines while the south which receives a lot more sunshine has tended to opt for solar energy.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa and Markus Wacket; Editing by Vera Eckert and Kim Coghill)