Construction begins on Amrumbank West wind farm in the North Sea

E.ON is further expanding its renewables business and has started construction of Amrumbank West wind farm in the North Sea. The first foundation was installed today 37 kilometer northwest of the island of Helgoland.

To help build Amrumbank West and other offshore projects, E.ON has chartered the MPI Discovery, a self-elevating turbine installation vessel or jackup rig, for several years. The ship is loaded with material in Cuxhaven and proceeds to the deepwater site. It lowers six legs on to the seabed and then raises itself hydraulically above the surface of the sea, creating a stable platform for operating the ram and cranes it uses to install foundations, towers, and turbines. The ram is used to drive the 60-meter-long steel tubular monopile foundations roughly 30 meters into the seabed at water depths of up to 24 meters. The entire foundation structure, which consists of the monopile and the transition piece, weighs about 900 metric tons. E.ON is using a state-of-the-art system to reduce water-borne noise during pile-driving.

Capital expenditures on the project will total about €1 billion. Amrumbank West is another example of how E.ON is significantly reducing the costs of building and operating offshore wind farms. “We’re drawing on all the expertise we’ve gathered from our offshore facilities in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia and from the construction and operation of alpha ventus in Germany, which was the world’s first deepwater wind farm,” Eckhardt Rümmler, CEO of E.ON Climate & Renewables, said. He added that E.ON wants to position itself as the cost leader in building and operating large-scale offshore projects. “Offshore wind is on the road to becoming a reliable and cost-effective source of electricity” Rümmler said. “Amrumbank West will help take us significantly closer to this goal.”

Amrumbank West will extend over 32 square kilometers, an area larger than 4,700 soccer fields. Its 80 technologically advanced 3.6 megawatt turbines will give it a total capacity of 288 megawatts, enough to power 300,000 households. Amrumbank West, which will displace more than 740,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually, is scheduled to be completed and to enter service in the late summer of 2015.

Since 2006, E.ON has invested just under €9 billion in renewables and is currently the world’s third-largest operator of offshore wind farms.