Germany opens first offshore wind farm

The head of the renewable energy unit at German technology giant Siemens, Rene Umlauft, called Baltic 1 a major milestone for Germany’s offshore wind energy generation. "Onshore, Germany was a pioneer in wind power and now it’s important to tap rapidly the huge offshore potential," Umlauft said in a statement.

Wind power is to play a major role in the German energy mix of the future, German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said in March, following Germany’s decision to drop nuclear power as soon as possible because of the fallout. In a bid to become less dependent on coal, gas and nuclear, Germany plans to have 10,000 MW of offshore wind power capacity installed by 2020.

If Germany wants to reach that target it has to hurry: Baltic 1 is the third offshore wind farm after Alpha Ventus and Bard Offshore, both smaller test farms. EnBW, meanwhile, is charging ahead. The company’s chief executive officer, Hans-Peter Villis, said Monday that the company’s plans for Baltic 2, a 288 MW wind farm — so nearly six times larger than Baltic 1 — are advancing.

Located in the Baltic Sea, Germany’s first commercial offshore wind farm is now fully operational. With German Chancellor Angela Merkel in attendance, EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG commissioned the project, which consists of 21 Siemens wind turbines, each with a capacity of 2.3 megawatts (MW) and a rotor diameter of 93 meters. The EnBW Baltic 1 wind farm will supply more than 50,000 German households with clean electricity. Siemens Energy constructed the facility in an area covering about seven square kilometers in the Baltic Sea, located approximately 16 kilometers north of the Darss/Zingst peninsula. Commissioning of this wind farm is a major milestone on the way to creating sustainable power supply for Germany.

Electricity from offshore wind power plants is soon expected to make a major contribution toward ecofriendly power supply in Germany, just as in other countries like the UK. Excellent wind conditions with high average wind speeds open up tremendous potential for the use of wind energy generated at sea. "This is an important milestone in the use of German offshore wind power. Onshore, Germany was a pioneer in wind power – and now it’s important to rapidly tap the huge offshore potential," said René Umlauft, CEO of the Renewable Energy Division at Siemens. By 2030, wind farms with total capacity between 20,000 and 25,000 MW will be operating off Germany’s coasts and delivering ecofriendly electricity.

"When it comes to offshore wind farms, Siemens is clearly the world leader, with more than 20 years of project experience. We’ll soon be introducing a new wind turbine with a capacity of six megawatts. This new machine is gearless and is ideally suited for offshore wind farms. Of course, we’re also well represented with onshore facilities – about 60 percent of our production is for onshore wind farms. In addition, we’re investing heavily in research and development as well as in the internationalization of our production and sales network," added Umlauft.

Siemens will also build the EnBW Baltic 2 offshore wind farm (formerly known as Kriegers Flak), which was also planned by EnBW. It will have a total of 80 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 3.6 MW and a rotor diameter of 120 meters. Baltic 2 is slated for connection to the grid in 2013, and will supply about 340,000 households with clean electricity.

To date, Siemens has already received orders for five offshore wind power plants in German waters. In addition to the contracts for EnBW Baltic 1 (48.3 MW), EnBW Baltic 2 (288 MW), Borkum Riffgat (108 MW), and DanTysk (288 MW), Siemens also received an order in February 2011 to build a German offshore farm Borkum Riffgrund 1 (320 MW). Over the last 20 years, Siemens has successfully installed more than 600 wind turbines with a combined capacity of more than 1800 MW in European waters. Since their commissioning, they have been reliably producing ecofriendly electricity. Siemens has additional offshore projects with a total capacity of about 3600 MW in its order books.

Wind power is part of Siemens’ Environmental Portfolio. In fiscal 2010, revenue from the Portfolio totaled about €28 billion, making Siemens the world’s largest supplier of ecofriendly technologies. In the same period, our products and solutions enabled customers to reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 270 million tons, an amount equal to the total annual CO2 emissions of the megacities Hong Kong, London, New York, Tokyo, Delhi and Singapore.

The Siemens Energy Sector is the world’s leading supplier of a complete spectrum of products, services and solutions for the generation, transmission and distribution of power and for the extraction, conversion and transport of oil and gas. In fiscal 2010 (ended September 30), the Energy Sector had revenues of approximately EUR25.5 billion and received new orders totaling more than EUR30.1 billion and posted a profit of more than EUR3.3 billion. On September 30, 2010, the Energy Sector had a work force of more than 88,000.