BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's wind power sector will expand at a faster rate in the second half of the year, the country's wind energy association predicted on Wednesday, ahead of an expected reduction in government incentives.
The BWE association said it expected about 2,900 megawatts of wind power capacity to be installed this year - roughly equivalent to three nuclear power plants - after 1,143 MW were installed in the first six months.
Most of the new capacity in the first half was onshore, it said.
One factor in the growth, said the VDMA Power Systems turbines group, was the expectation of a reduction in incentives for wind energy.
"There has been an acceleration effect," VDMA Power Systems chief Thorsten Herdan told reporters at a joint news conference with the BWE.
Wind energy accounts for about 8 percent of Germany's power usage and Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to increase it as part of her push to renewable and away from nuclear energy.
However, installing offshore wind turbines is proving problematic partly because it has turned out to be far more expensive than originally estimated.
In the first half of the year, only 21 offshore wind installations, with a capacity of 105 MW, went on stream. However, the groups said they expected offshore to pick up in the second half of this year and in the coming two years.
(Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Mark Potter)