Germany seeks 5-fold increase in offshore wind power by 2040

BERLIN (AP) — The German government wants to increase offshore wind power capacity five-fold by 2040 as part of its plan to wean the country off fossil fuels.

The Cabinet on Wednesday agreed on a bill that would set a goal of 40 Gigawatts of installed offshore wind power capacity in 20 years, from about 7.5 Gigawatts at present. It also raised the target for 2030 from 15 Gigawatts to 20.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said the new offshore wind target for 2030 would help Germany achieve its goal of meeting 65% of its gross electricity consumption with renewable energy in a decade. The longer-term target would provide businesses and coastal regions with planning certainty, he added.

Germany’s offshore wind generation is dwarfed by the number of turbines installed on land, which already have a combined capacity of 54 Gigawatts.

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Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she supports the goal of making Europe ‘climate neutral’ by 2050 to curb global warming. This ambitious target will require the world’s biggest economic bloc to phase out the use of fossil fuels.

Because renewable energy generated by wind and solar plants fluctuates depending on the weather, one proposal is to use excess electricity to produce hydrogen that can be easily stored, transported and burned without releasing greenhouse gases.

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