a Little time? At the end of text there is a summary.

at the Very top in the North, in the municipality of Ellhöft at the border to Denmark, is one of the oldest wind farms in the country. The six wind turbines went up in June 2000 to the network, a few months after the entry into force of the Renewable energy sources act (EEG). Thanks to the promotion by the EEG, the owner, fifty citizens from the village have earned with their investments for many years, good money.

But by the end of 2020 is the conclusion – the promotion is only available for twenty years. What to do? The systems are easy to tear off, although they are still well in shot? Or they can be used without any state support make money?

These are questions you must ask yourself currently, many wind Park operators. On new year’s day 2021, according to calculations by the consulting firm Deutsche windguard systems with a combined capacity of approximately four gigawatts, the promotion will fall – as much as eight medium-sized coal-fired power plant blocks.

by the end of 2025 are affected around 15,000 plants with a capacity of about 16 gigawatts. Almost a third of the entire wind energy power, which is now installed in the country. Also, only a small part is switched off, indeed, it would be a major setback for the energy transition.

green electricity suppliers as a buyer for the wind energy

to find Good reasons for the energy industry, solutions that enable the continued operation of the plants. The owner of the wind farm Ellhöft have already found one: “We will not sell our electricity to the supplier Greenpeace Energy,” says Reinhard Christiansen, the Initiator and managing Director of the wind farm.

Lush profits will not be achieved the operator. The business is worth but According to Christiansen, the revenues are higher than the costs for operation, maintenance, and Service of the equipment. “For five years we can have our old mills as safe further to run,” he explains.

In addition, the Ellhöfter want to install in the wind farm, an electrolyser, produces with the wind flow from water to climate neutral hydrogen. Of the is delivered to a hydrogen gas station in the middle of Flensburg. To the fuel use, the operator of the wind farm, seven fuel-cell cars to purchase.

New distance rules modernization of the wind Park

to prohibit, rather than to continue operating, it would have been Christiansen, however, to replace the old plants with new ones. The would then get back to the EEG promotion. “I can’t, but because of the approval have changed legal conditions,” he explains.

SPIEGEL ONLINE Revolution in the energy market: the secret of the old mill

This so-called Repowering is depending on the state, only thirty to fifty percent of the surfaces on which today’s wind turbines. In the case of all other may because in the meantime, changed distance, no new equipment rules will be built – “although the residents have mostly become accustomed to the use of wind energy, and these areas also infra-structurally developed,” explains Wolfram Axthelm, managing Director of the Federal Association of wind energy.

Where Repowering is possible to choose the operators of old plants usually also says Axthelm. “Where this is not possible, the only Option is to operate the existing plants.”

Heating with wind power

the Latter also applies to two old wind turbines in the municipality Bosbüll, ten kilometers to the South of Ellhöft located – also there is no new rotors can be built. In order to give the plants a perspective that wants to create the Renewable energy project developer GP Joule, with the wind power heating for Bosbüll. This should be done by using an electricity-powered heat pump and an electric heating rod. Through pipes, the heat is then transported to the customers.

“heat is very good for days or weeks save. The advantage of this is that we can always generate heat when the wind turbines provide a lot of power,” says GP Joule expert Felix Schwahn.

In the first expansion of the heat network will be the use of GP Joule builds together with the municipality Bosbüll and operates 25 buildings in the village are single-family homes, as well as the parish house to provide, for the most part. “We can cover the entire heat demand of these customers with the local wind power,” explains Schwahn.

In addition, want to deliver to the Partner of their heating customers with electricity from the wind turbines. Similarly, an electrolyzer in Bosbüll is planned. In the case of hydrogen production, the resulting waste heat will be fed into the heating network.

electricity from old wind farms for major customers

For the wind Park, the owner of such models, however, have the disadvantage that the risk of further operation of the old and thus more vulnerable to accidents, and equipment, as well as their subsequent disposal remain with you.

Here, companies such as wpd or Hanse wind power, a subsidiary of the Stadtwerke München see a gap in the market: they offer, the elderly wind turbines to buy. With the Acquisition in the own large investment portfolio should be cost benefits in operation and maintenance, as well as the later demolition.

In addition, according to your calculus, it becomes easier for them to market the electricity is about to large consumers, who want to meet their needs entirely from renewable sources. Candidates for there are enough. So many companies have committed to supply in the medium term, entirely on renewable energy, Commerzbank, Coca-Cola and Danone, BMW, SAP and H&M to Ikea and Lego.

Summary: from running The promotion under the German Renewable energies act (EEG) for many wind turbines soon. The profitable operation of which is also then possible, but requires often imagination and the investments of the owners. So you can upgrade the equipment, for example, for hydrogen production or district heating.

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.