At the beginning of 2009, The Crown Estate, which manages the coastline on behalf of the UK, invited tenders from energy companies for nine offshore wind zones which together represent a total installed capacity of 25,000 Megawatt.
RWE Innogy has now signed Zone Development Agreements which confirm the company as Development Partner and enables exclusive development of;
*Bristol Channel Zone (Atlantic Array project with 1,500 Megawatt), located off the coast of South Wales and North Devon
*Dogger Bank Zone (target capacity of 9,000 Megawatt, with a potential for approximately 13,000 Megawatt), located off the Yorkshire coast. RWE Innogy will develop the Dogger Bank Zone through a consortium called Forewind, which comprises RWE Innogy, UK energy utility Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) and Norwegian energy companies Statoil and Statkraft.
Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, CEO of RWE Innogy GmbH said: "This announcement shows the confidence that the UK government has in the competence of RWE Innogy, by awarding our company the strategically important Bristol Channel Zone and as a partner within the Forewind consortium, the largest of the nine designated offshore zones – Dogger Bank. These are two very important projects in this third and largest tendering round for the development of offshore wind farms in the UK.
In September last year the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) identified Dogger Bank Zone as a potential central ‘node’ between the UK, Norway and Continental Europe for an inter-European power system, which it suggested could be created by 2020. In the future, it is proposed that this ‘node’ could balance fluctuating wind power output by using storable power from Norwegian hydroelectric stations. This could then be transmitted as base-load electricity, available 24-hours a day, to centres of consumption in Continental Europe.
Dogger Bank Zone is around 8,600 square kilometres in size and is situated approximately 125 to 195 kilometres off the Yorkshire coast. It provides for an estimated installed capacity of around 9GW, with a potential for up to 13GW. Water depth within this zone varies between 20 to 60 metres.
The Bristol Channel Zone, which will be developed by RWE Innogy through its UK subsidiary RWE npower renewables, covers an area of about 950 square kilometres. Within this zone it is anticipated that up to 250 wind turbines could be constructed in an area of approx. 500 square kilometres, enabling an installed capacity of up to 1,500 megawatts. The site – called Atlantic Array – is located approximately 14 kilometres off the North Devon coast and 18 kilometres from the South Wales coast, and turbines would be installed within waters with a depth of between 25 to 55 meters. The company hopes to gain planning permission by 2013.
Prof. Martin Skiba, Head of RWE Innogy’s Offshore Wind department said: "The UK offshore wind energy market is among the most attractive in all of Europe. The Round 3 tendering process is the latest major opportunity to secure rights for the development of large-scale, deep-sea wind farms in this market. Given our experience with the development and construction of offshore wind farms, especially in the UK, we now have the unique opportunity to move a major step closer to achieving our goals of developing renewable energies in Europe."
Decision reached on building Nordsee Ost offshore wind farm
As part of offshore development in Germany, RWE AG has also made the investment decision to build the Nordsee Ost offshore wind farm. During this year, RWE Innogy will begin preparatory work for the construction. The approved wind farm, with a planned installed capacity of 295 megawatts, will be located around 30 kilometres north-west of the island of Helgoland. The area of the wind farm will cover around 34 square kilometres. The plan is to erect a total of 48 turbines in waters 25 metres deep. Full commissioning of the wind farm is planned for 2013. The investment sum stands at around EUR one billion, with the European Union providing an additional subsidy of EUR 50 million for "Nordsee Ost" as a beacon project for renewables in Europe. The turbines to be used are REpower 6M, of a rated capacity of 6.15 MW each. "Nordsee Ost" is the first project under the framework agreement concluded between REpower and RWE Innogy in February 2009. The agreement, one of the largest in the history of the wind power industry, concerns the supply of up to 250 REpower 5M and 6M offshore turbines.
The Nordsee Ost wind farm will be one of the first large-scale offshore wind farms in Germany. Generating around 1.1 terawatt-hours of electricity, it will be able to supply the equivalent of more than 310,000 households in future. This will also save around 810,000 tonnes of CO2. Martin Skiba says, "the Nordsee Ost wind farm will set new standards in many respects. It will use the world’s largest and most powerful wind turbines. Furthermore, we are going to build the wind farm with our own construction vessel. This is the only ship in the world specially designed to carry and install turbines and foundations of this size." RWE Innogy placed the order to build such a construction vessel with the Korean shipyard Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), and retains the option of a further two.
RWE Innogy intends to have an installed capacity of about 4,500 megawatts of renewable energies under construction or in operation by 2012. This could be enough to generate about 15,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity to supply more than four million residential households in Europe from renewable sources in 2013. Some 10,000 megawatts are due to come on stream by 2020. RWE Innogy invests about 1 billion euros per year in the development of renewable energies to achieve these aims and around 70 percent of this capital expenditure is spent on developing onshore and offshore wind energy.
Off the North Wales coast, RWE Innogy already operates the UK’s first large-scale offshore wind farm North Hoyle (60 MW), and the newly completed Rhyl Flats Offshore Wind Farm (90 MW). Nearby, the company is also preparing to begin construction of Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm (576 MW). RWE Innogy also owns a share of 50 percent in the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm off the east coast of England. Due for completion in 2011, this wind power plant is designed for a total capacity of 500 megawatts.
RWE Innogy is also moving forward with offshore wind developments at various sites along the European coast. In Belgium, the company owns a stake in the Thornton Bank wind farm which has already come on stream with its first development stage (30 MW). In the German North Sea, RWE Innogy is currently developing two wind farms with about 300 and 950 megawatts of installed capacity.