On Tuesday, the Bundesnetzagentur (Germany’s Federal Network Agency) revealed the winners of two separate tender auctions — wind energy and solar energy — unconnected but announced at the same time. Though unconnected, the results are illuminating nevertheless, revealing current renewable energy trends, at least in Germany. The 200 megawatt (MW) tender for solar energy was oversubscribed by 173%, but the 700 MW wind energy tender was only oversubscribed by 41%.
“The declining number of bids shows that tenders for wind turbines are not automatic,” said Jochen Homann, President of the Federal Network Agency (translated by Google).
The successful wind energy bids ranged from €38/MWh to €52.80/MWh (3.80 ct/kWh to 5.28 ct/kWh), with an average of €47.3/MWh (4.73 ct/kWh — and not 4.60 ct/kWh as was originally reported by the Bundesnetzagentur), somewhat higher than the average of €38/MWh reported in the most recent wind auction held last year in November.
“The increase of the additional value to now 4.6 cents [sic] makes it clear that in the earlier bids without approval and realization periods of 4.5 years, different technology and price developments were assumed, as opposed to bids with permits and implementation periods of 2.5 years is, ” Homann added.
In the end, a total of 83 bids with a volume of 709 MW were awarded, with 19 tenders awarded to civil energy companies. Geographically, the most number of bids were awarded in Lower Saxony with 17 tenders worth 154 MW, Brandenburg with 13 worth 106 MW, North Rhine-Westphalia with 12 worth 61 MW, and Rhineland-Palatinate with 11 worth 124 MW.
“It’s good to see the results of this onshore wind auction,” said Giles Dickson, CEO of the European wind energy trade body, WindEurope. “There was fair competition between all the bidders this time. The prices were low. And community projects were still among the winners, even with the new rules around their participation.”
The solar tender received an impressive 54 bids worth a total of 546 MW, which well oversubscribed the 200 MW offered. The bids ranged in price from €38.6/MWh to €45.9/MWh (3.86 ct/kWh and 4.59 ct/kWh), with an average of €43.3/MWh (4.33 ct/kWh).
“This is an impressive new record and shows how tenders are contributing towards making solar even more cost-competitive,” said Kristina Thoring, Senior Political Communications Advisor at Solar Power Europe, the region’s solar trade body, speaking to me via email. “Indeed, the average winning bid prices for solar in Germany has decreased by almost 30% since 2015. Tenders are expected to play a major role in the development of large-scale solar in Europe and the world, designed correctly, tenders will be a hugely effective tool in increasing solar deployment.”