Merkel Inaugurates Germany’s Offshore Wind Energy Plant

The wind farm was built buy EnBW after being developed by WPD. It features 21 Siemens 2.3MW wind turbines and is located around 16km nort of the Darss peninsula in the Baltic Sea. Transmission company 50 Hertz provided the cable connection to shore, albeit with some delays. "We have carried out real pioneering work here and have learnt a lot,” said Boris Schucht, chief executive of 50Hertz.

EnBW is already planning the Baltic 2 wind farm, which will feature 80 Siemens 3.6 MW wind turbines and is due to go live in 2013. Baltic 1 wind power plant was inaugurated today, making it Germany’s first offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea and second offshore wind turbines to go online. German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended the ceremony for the nearly 50 megawatt (MW) park, which will generate up to 185 gigawatt hours of electricity annually for around 50,000 German homes. The opening marks a further milestone in the country’s offshore wind ‘gold rush’ in both the North Sea and Baltic Sea. According to Germany Trade & Invest, now is the optimal time for investments in the country’s wind energy sector.

"Germany’s offshore wind industry is taking off. Two parks off two very different coasts have been completed and others are in development. A pipeline is already in place to serve Europe’s largest market and political backing for wind energy is strong. This recipe has led to manufacturers, suppliers and researchers lining up along the country’s coastlines," states Anne Brautigam, wind energy expert at Germany Trade & Invest in Berlin.

The 21 turbines that make up EnBW Baltic 1 are located 10 miles off Germany’s Baltic coast at a water depth of 50-60 feet. The grid connection for the turbines, each 410 feet tall, is provided by the transmission grid operators in Germany, which covers a large share of the wind farm costs.

With renewable energy accounting for 17 percent of Germany’s electricity – the bulk of which is generated by wind – rapid growth of the offshore segment will mark the next phase for the industry. Offshore park alpha ventus (60 MW) in the North Sea began operating last year and served as a cooperative test project for utilities, installers and manufacturers. Currently BARD Offshore 1 (400 MW) is under construction in the North Sea and several other large-scale wind farms are in development in both seas, with supplier and service contracts currently being awarded. These include Baltic 2, Dan Tysk, (each 288 MW) Nordsee Ost (295 MW) and Amrumbank West (300 MW).

Germany Trade & Invest is the foreign trade and inward investment promotion agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. The organization advises foreign companies looking to expand their business activities in the German market. It provides information on foreign trade to German companies that seek to enter foreign markets.