Germany’s offshore wind investment received a big, much-needed boost on August 11 as Munich City Utilities and Sweden’s Vattenfall announced a huge wind-farm investment off the German North Sea coast.
Due to start construction in 2015 and come online in 2017, the $1.6 billion Sandbank offshore wind farm project entails Vattenfall installing 72 turbines off the German North Sea coast. That would add a massive 1.4 terawatt-hours (TWh) of clean, renewable electricity to the German grid, enough to supply some 400,000 homes, according to an AFP news report.
1.4 terawatt-hours of offshore wind power capacity
Vattenfall will own a 51 percent ownership stake in Sandbank. The Swedish energy group operates 900 turbines in Northern Europe and the U.K., making it the second largest offshore wind farm operator worldwide, according to the company.
Commenting on Sandbank, Vattenfall’s Gunnar Groebler stated:
“The Sandbank project is further testament to Vattenfall’s strategy of consistently focusing our growth efforts on the expansion of renewable energy,” said an executive responsible for renewable energy.”
Sandbank is the first offshore wind farm project announced since Germany enacted a new version of its renewable energy law on August 1. That included a reduction in state support for offshore wind farms. It’s the second North Sea wind farm project between Vattenfall and Munich City Utilities. The 80-turbine Dan Tysk, the first, is due to begin operations in 2015.
Europe’s offshore wind power sector
Commenting on market conditions in Europe’s offshore wind power sector, European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) Deputy Chief Executive Officer Justin Wilkes stated:
“To ensure healthy growth in the latter part of the decade, and to ensure offshore wind energy plays its role in meeting the EU’s competitiveness, security, renewable and climate objectives, the industry must be given longer-term visibility. An ambitious deal on the 2030 Climate and Energy package by the EU’s Heads of State in October would send the right signal, making their decision particularly important for the offshore wind sector.”
Sixteen offshore wind farms with a total 4.9 gigawatts (GW) of power capacity are under construction in Europe, according to the latest report from the EWEA released July 14. A total of 781 megawatts (MW) from 224 offshore wind turbines were fully grid-connected during 2014’s first half, a 25 percent drop from that a year prior.
“Despite offshore wind power installations being lower than in the first six months of last year, it remains the fastest growing power sector in Europe,” Wilkes noted.
In addition, 282 offshore wind turbines were installed and were awaiting connection to the grid, bringing the total awaiting grid connection to 310. That will add another 1,200 MW to the European Union’s total offshore wind power capacity, according to EWEA.
*Images credit: 1), 2): Vattenfall; 3) EWEA