Although offshore wind development has been underway since the late 1990′s in Germany, to understand the current German offshore wind market it is helpful to start with transmission.
The German market saw significant shifts in 2012. The primary issue was with the way in which an offshore transmission grid should be built to support the large number of offshore wind farms which were consented, under construction, or already built. In late 2012 the German Government issued a new set of regulations concerning the regulatory model by which windfarms were to be tied to the grid.
This new policy has resulted in a new offshore grid plan which was released in early 2013. The plan is called O-NEP 2013 and can be found here (in german). For those who don’t read German here is a good overview (in English).
O-NEP 2013 calls for a Start Network which will link an initial set of projects. From that point there is to be another round of policy set by the German energy regulator which will account for future transmission prioritization.
There are a number of demonstration and smaller scale offshore wind projects which are currently operational in German waters. There are also a number of very large scale offshore wind projects currently under construction.