New chapter opens for offshore wind energy in Germany

Offshore wind power in Germany took a huge leap forward today after Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, officially opened the country’s first offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea.

The wind farm – known as Baltic 1 – is built by Energie Baden-Württemberg (EnBW) and consists of 21 2.3MW wind turbines which together will be able to power the equivalent of 50,000 households.

“This opens a new chapter for energy production in Germany,” Merkel said.

Today’s 48.3 MW offshore wind farm adds to a European total of 2,946 MW (end 2010). During the course of this year the European Wind Energy Association expects a total of 1,000 – 1,500 MW to be installed offshore, delivering thousands of green jobs and continuing to establish Europe as a world leader in offshore wind power technology.

A second wind farm – Baltic 2 – consisting of 80 wind turbines is set to open in 2013 and will power 340,000 households. Germany’s Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) has said that a further 16 wind farms have been approved in the North Sea and three in the Baltic Sea.

As Merkel pushed the start button for the wind farm located 16km off the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern coastline, news sources reported that the Chancellor is planning to speed-up Germany’s planned exit from nuclear energy. So far Germany – where 25% of electricity is powered by nuclear – is due to stop producing power from nuclear stations by 2022, but this could now be brought forward, according to newspaper Handelsblatt.

For more information on offshore wind energy in Europe, click here:

For an animated video of how Baltic 1 was built, click here:

By Zoë Casey,