Key geotechnical feasibility studies on the site of Wikinger offshore wind farm have been successfully concluded, with a total cost of €20 million.
The studies comprised a full geological survey of the seabed in an area of some 34 square kilometres. Also, stratigraphic samples of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks were drilled out and seismic surveys using sound waves to determine the structure of the terrain were carried out.
These works represent a key milestone to achieve project consents for construction works by the regulator Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH). The findings will be used to define dimensions and design of turbine foundations and will confirm the method of installation of the wind farm, including cabling and electrical substation.
Wikinger is a 400-megawatt (MW) wind farm in the Baltic Sea, some 35 kilometres off the coast of the German Island of Rügen. With an investment of €1.5 billion, the project will generate €650 million in local and regional taxes through a 20 year period and will create some 2,000 direct and indirect jobs. Once in operation, the wind farm will produce electricity equivalent to the consumption of more than 350,000 German households and would avoid the emission of almost 600,000 tons of CO2/year.
Development of the Wikinger offshore wind project is progressing quickly, with construction scheduled to begin in late 2015 and commissioning in early 2017, in order to qualify to the current feed-in-tariff system. To achieve this, in November 2012, a preferred turbine supplier agreement was signed between IBERDROLA and Areva Wind, with production centre in Bremerhaven.
IBERDROLA has already launched the tender process for the procurement and installation of foundations, inter-array cable and the main components of the wind farm substation, totaling some €900 million. Also, progress is being made on the port selection for pre-assembly and transportation of components and wind turbines to the site, and an announcement is expected in the coming weeks.
If everything goes according to plan, including grid connection being secured by 2016 or early 2017 and the applicable feed-in tariff being confirmed, final investment decision on the project will be made towards the end of 2013 and the first procurement contracts should be awarded in early 2014. In this respect, IBERDROLA welcomes investor reassurances expressed by senior German authorities about the need for long term stability of the regulatory framework. Nevertheless, grid connection availability, a stable tariff mechanism and an agile consenting process are essential to avoid unnecessary costs and risks and meet investors’ expectations.
IBERDROLA’s offshore wind project pipeline in Germany stands at over 2,000 MW. By the end of 2013, over €70 million will be invested in the development of Wikinger alone, and by 2019 the company could invest over €3 billion in offshore wind projects in the German Baltic Sea, to install 1,000 MW.