Germany’s decision to slowly close its many nuclear power plants over the next decade was met with much support. Consequently, new plans for renewable energy sources started to accumulate, with the grandest, most expensive plan proceeding in the North Sea. Germany’s ambitious plan is entitled Energiewende, or energy transition. This state-backed plan seeks to build fourteen gigawatts of wind turbines off the coast of the North Sea by the year 2023. These turbines alone will provide for roughly one tenth of the country’s energy needs. The elaborate plan has met many issues, both financial and political, though. Will the turbines come to fruition in spite of its obstacles, or will this become just a giant waste of taxpayer money?
Along with the massive wind turbines, there will be eight platforms in the water, seven stories tall, to collect the windmill’s output. They then convert the energy into high-voltage direct current and send it ashore for use through cables. One of the more obvious challenges to this endeavor is the cables themselves, because they will have to pass through high-population areas in order to reach Germany’s central power grid. Protesters against having these dense cords running through their yards insist that they be buried, further expanding the budget related to this project.
Accompanying the project is some political controversy because the Netherlands had previously purchased Germany’s main power grid back in 2009. This has caused whether or not to continue with the expensive plan a multi-national issue. Some investors have taken an interest in the project, releasing some of the monetary burden from the governments and German energy consumers.
With the increase in investor interest, the chances of proceeding with the wind turbines is more likely, but apparently at the rate they are crawling at now, only 6 of the 14 turbines will be finished by 2023. What should have been a step in the right direction for renewable energy and the ridding of nuclear power plants, has turned into a multi-national fiasco that might result in the loss of billions of dollars. This might also cause other nations to reconsider renewable energy ideas so as to avoid losing money on abandoned projects.