Riffgat offshore wind farm: EWE and Siemens sign contract for 30 wind turbines

The Oldenburg-based energy supplier EWE, and its business partner the ENOVA Group, have appointed Siemens, a manufacturer of wind power facilities, to supply 30 wind turbines – each with a capacity of 3.6 megawatts (MW) – for the Riffgat offshore wind farm.

The wind energy order is an important step towards the realisation of the offshore wind farm that is due to be built 15 km northwest of the East Frisian island of Borkum. Initial construction work is expected to begin next year. The turbines will be built across an area of six square kilometres (equivalent to 850 football pitches) and will generate enough electricity for around 100,000 households by the end of 2012.

"Signing the contract for the supply of the wind turbines is a key step towards realising the Riffgat offshore wind farm. By building alpha ventus, Germany’s first offshore wind farm, EWE paved the way for power generation at sea in Germany. Now with Riffgat we intend to reap the rewards of our pioneering work", explains Dr. Thomas Neuber, Chief Officer of Procurement and Production at EWE. In building and operating Riffgat, EWE and ENOVA want to achieve a new level of quality in the collaboration between the companies along the value chain. This is expected to yield new findings that will help wind energy plants to generate electricity at costs similar to conventional sources and to play an active role in the energy supply system.

With an installed offshore capacity of more than 1,000 MW, Siemens is the leading manufacturer of wind power facilities for use at sea. "Offshore wind energy is now finally picking up speed in Germany too", says René Umlauft, CEO of the Renewable Energy division at Siemens. "Riffgat will be one of the first commercial wind energy plants in German territorial waters. Together with EWE and ENOVA we are taking a leap forward for Germany in the development of environmentally friendly and sustainable energy supply."

From a technical perspective, the large-scale project is highly sophisticated: the wind turbines will be anchored to the seabed using what are known as monopiles. This type of foundation has often been used before in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, but not in the way planned here. In the Riffgat wind farm a special type of junction is to be tested between the foundation and the wind turbine. By building Riffgat, EWE and ENOVA want to experiment with this concept and, in doing so, use an environmentally friendly method of anchoring the turbines.

Initial planning permission has been granted for the Riffgat offshore wind farm. EWE and ENOVA have submitted an application for permission to construct and operate the facilities and are expecting approval in the second half of the year.