Country Reports


The expansion of renewable energy is one of the central pillars in Germany’s energy transition. In light of an increasing scarcity of resources, the aim is to become less dependent on fossil fuels and to make Germany’s electricity supply more climate-friendly. The growing significance of renewable energy sources in the power sector is largely a result of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). Since the adoption of the Renewable Energy Sources Act, the share of gross power consumption of renewable energies grew from about 6% in 2000 to 36.1% in 2017 according to preliminary data. By 2025, 40-45 % of electricity consumed in Germany is to be derived from renewables. Wind and solar energy are the most important forms of renewables, but biomass and hydropower are also valuable building blocks of the German energy system.

With the 2017 revision of the Renewable Energy Sources Act funding rates for renewable electricity are no longer fixed by the government, but are determined via a market-based auction scheme – a fundamental change in funding Germany’s renewable energies. These competitive biddings schemes are already showing a cost-cutting effect. E.g. average funding rates for onshore wind energy installation auctions have dropped by 25% between May 2016 and August 2017 (source: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy). Excluded from the bidding schemes are hydro power plants (including wave, tidal range and currents and salinity gradient), landfill and sewage gas and geothermal plants. For those, fixed feed in tariffs continue to be applied which e.g. in the case of hydropower and ocean energy systems range from 12.4 € Cent/kWh for systems below 500 kW to 3.47 Cents/kWh for plants above 50 MW.

While the recent production figures indicate, that the energy transition is making good progress in terms of increasing renewables and phasing out nuclear energy, greenhouse gas emissions stagnated at the same level for the third year in a row, mainly due to increased emissions in the transport, building and industrial sectors. Extrapolating the current trend, Germany will cut its emissions by only 30 % compared with 1990 levels instead of 40 % as planned (Source: Dr Patrick Graichen, Director of Agora Energiewende).

The current 6th energy research programme of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as published in 2014 continues to fund R&D projects with regard to ocean energy technologies. Up to now, around 12 technology projects related to the development of components and concepts for tidal turbines and wave energy components have been funded. A consultation process for the follow up 7th energy research programme started end of 2016. The new programme is expected to be released in summer 2018.


In the public sector, around 15 R&D institutes and universities have been involved into developing wave, tidal current and osmotic power mainly in the framework of National and European research projects over the last decade.

Within the joint project “TidalPower”, running until June 2018, a consortium consisting of SCHOTTEL HYDRO, Fraunhofer IEE (former IWES Kassel), the Institute for Fluid- and Thermodynamics (IFT) at the University of Siegen, Hamburg Ship Model Basin (HSVA) and Potsdam Model Basin (SVA) aims at facilitating the development of the “TRITON” platform, a 2.5 MW semi-submersible platform carrying 40 SCHOTTEL HYDRO tidal turbines. In late 2017, SCHOTTEL HYDRO announced the discontinuation of the “TRITON” platform and gave up on plans to deploy a prototype at a berth at the FORCE tidal research centre in the Bay of Fundy, Canada. Now, smaller floating platforms comparable to Sustainable Marine Energy’s (SME) 280 kW “PLAT-I” platform are to be used instead. Separated from the discontinu ation of the “TRITON”, SCHOTTEL HYDRO continues to provide their “SIT” tidal turbines and custom power take-off systems to third party tidal developers like SME, QED Naval and Minesto.

The NEMOS GmbH together with Uni Duisburg Essen, the Development Centre for Ship Technology and Transport Systems, Schaeffler Technologies AG and LIROS GmbH, continued the development of its wave energy conversion technology in the joint project “Design, Manufacturing, Installation and Commissioning of NEMOS Wave Power Plant Model at 1:1 Scale”. The project runs until July 2019 and is supposed to deliver a full-scale WEC prototype. Construction started in February at a Belgian shipyard, the installation in the North Sea near the Port of Ostend was permitted in June 2017. In-situ soil investigation were successfully performed in September. (source:

Wave power developer SINN Power GmbH started the project “Testing of a Modular Concept for the Generation of Grid Conform Electricity from Irregular Ocean Waves in a Generator Array” in August 2017. The project runs until July 2019 and is supposed to deliver four additional WEC modules to the existing test site at the port of Heraklion, Greece.

Furthermore, a floating WEC grid of 21 modules is to be installed at an organic shrimp farm on the island of São Vicente, Cape Verde, in 2018 (source: REAC Energy GmbH from Bavaria, southern Germany, tested a single unit of their modular tidal turbine technology in Orkney waters in October. The “StreamCube” is a vertical axis Savonius turbine with self-adjusting rotor geometry, rated at 6 kW (source:

The project STENSEA – “Stored Energy in the Sea” delivered and tested a 1:10 scale model of a concrete sphere based pumped storage in Bodensee lake, Germany. The project finished successfully in March under participation of Fraunhofer IEE and HOCHTIEF Solutions AG. A successor project testing a larger sphere offshore is currently being developed for funding.

Other German suppliers, such as Bosch Rexroth, Schaeffler, Contitech, Thyssen Krupp, Hunger Hydraulik and Hydac deliver components and parts for a number of ocean energy devices – for wave as well as tidal turbine technologies, mainly in Europe. Certification companies such as the DNV Gl-Group and consultants are contributing to the technology and project development in the sector. This international collaboration demonstrates the technology export opportunities, which exist in ocean energy for the German industry.


“Stored Energy in the Sea” - 1:10 scale model tested in Lake Constance, Germany


Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is used as a decision making tool in all activities developed in the North and Baltic Sea. However, there are no defined areas for ocean energy in Germany and the MSP regime does not specifically consider ocean energy developments.

Nevertheless, areas for offshore energy power production have been specified and implemented by the Federal Government’s strategy to wind energy use at sea (2002), which is part of its overall sustainability strategy. This plan aims to create framework conditions for offshore wind energy potential to be exploited, in addition, the Federal Government’s Energy and Climate Programme (IEKP) of December 2007 formulates the goal of increasing the proportion of renewable energies in electricity production.

The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) has determined the targets and principles of spatial planning for the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the North and Baltic Sea with regards to economic and scientific use, safety and efficiency of maritime traffic as well as protection of the marine environment. The MSP covers all three dimensions of the marine space (surface, water column and seabed), and identifies specific zones for maritime activities. The spatial plan for the EEZ is available for public consultation in the libraries of the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency.

The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) is the federal agency overseeing licensing for renewable energy projects in the EEZ based on the Maritime Spatial Plan for the North and Baltic Sea.

Within the 12 nautical mile limit, i.e. in the area of the territorial sea, the German coastal states are responsible for the approval of renewable energy, because an approval granted by the BSH for installations in the EEZ is not legally binding for approval procedures involving installations on land and in the territorial sea.

The BSH and the competent regional Waterways and Shipping Directorate also examine whether the project would constitute a hazard to navigation. For a wind farm project to obtain approval, the regional Waterways and Shipping Directorate must have consented to it under the aspect of navigation safety.

The Federal Energy Regulator (BundesNetzagentur) is in charge of approving applications for an offshore grid on economic grounds.

The approval procedure has the following steps:

• Competent authorities like the regional Waterways and Shipping Directorates and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation are informed about the project application and asked to comment;
• A project presentation is offered to the project planner during an application conference. An important aspect of the approval procedure is an early involvement of the German coastal states, which have to approve the laying of land feeder cables through the territorial sea for the transport of electricity to onshore substations;
• If required by the BHS, the applicant prepares an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and a risk analysis to be reviewed by the BSH and if requirements are met the project is approved.

There is no specific authority responsible to manage the ocean energy consenting process (“one stop shop” facility or entity).

In the EEZ, the potential impacts of the planned facilities on the marine environment have to be assessed. An EIA is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The responsible for the decision on whether an EIA is required is the BSH. In the course of the approval procedure, the BSH reviews whether the marine environmental features to be protected are at risk by the project deployment and informs the project’s proponent if they are required to perform an EIA. As for offshore wind energy, the process is much clearer since offshore wind farm projects comprising more than 20 turbines require an EIA based on the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (UVPG).

There are also specific standards for the baseline and monitoring of offshore wind projects. In accordance with these standards, baseline and post-deployment surveys have to investigate impacts on features of conservation interest, i.e. fish, benthos, birds and marine mammals in order to determine their spatial distribution and temporal variability during three main stages:

• Pre-construction phase (baseline survey);
• To monitor the effects of construction, operation and decommissioning;
• To establish a basis for evaluating the monitoring results.

There are no specific EIA steps for ocean energy projects, therefore these projects are considered under the existing legislation for the offshore wind sector.

There are no well-defined procedures to obtain consent for ocean energy, therefore these projects are considered under the legislation designed to the offshore wind sector.

The legislation used to regulate offshore renewable energy deployments in the North and Baltic Sea is the Maritime Spatial Plan.

The consultation process starts upon the submission of the projects application to the competent authorities.

A larger number of stakeholders are involved in the process: the public has the possibility to inspect the planning documents. Mandatory consultees include all competent authorities (including the regional Waterways and Shipping Directorates, mining authority, Federal Agency for Nature Conservation) associations (e.g. nature protection, commercial and small craft shipping, fisheries, and wind energy associations) and the public.

Subsequent to the second round of participation, an application conference is held during which the applicant has the opportunity to present the project. Conflicting interests and uses are discussed, and the scope of investigations required to study possible effects on the marine environment is determined.

There are guidelines for the promotion of offshore wind energy use in accordance with the Federal Government’s sustainability strategy. These guidelines can provide helpful inputs for the developers of ocean energy projects.