The German state of Schleswig-Holstein will double its land area devoted to wind energy.
The North-German land bordering Denmark already has the highest concentration of wind energy in Germany – with wind turbines occupying 0.8 percent of the land area in the state. A decision by the state cabinet doubles the land area that can be used for wind turbines to 1.7 percent of Schleswig-Holstein, or 32,600 acres.
The decision culminates a multi-year planning process that was initiated by the previous conservative government and was completed by the current coalition government of Social Democrats, Greens, and a small party representing the Danish-speaking minority.
Wind energy is contributing nearly 50 percent of Schleswig-Holstein’s electricity consumption from more than 3,200 MW of wind generating capacity, according to Paul Gipe, who runs Wind-Works.org. There is more than 200 kW of wind generating capacity per square kilometer in Schleswig-Holstein. This is a higher density of wind turbines on the landscape than in any other German state, in Denmark, and of any US state.The target of the “state between two seas” (the North and Baltic Seas) is to develop 4,800 MW of wind capacity by 2015 and 6,500 MW on land by 2020.
Schleswig-Holstein is currently a net exporter of electricity. It generates more than twice its internal consumption. In the past this surplus generation was from nuclear power. By 2020 wind energy on land alone will replace the state’s aging reactors, all now slated for closure in 2022.