Disruption of satellite link to wind energy converters

The disruption solely impairs the communication channel between Service and the wind turbines.

Due to a massive disruption of the satellite link in Europe, remote monitoring and control of thousands of ENERCON wind energy converters (WECs) is currently only possible to a limited extent. Since Thursday (24 February), a total of 5,800 WECs in central Europe with a total power of 11 gigawatts have been affected by the outage of the link. There is no risk to the WECs. The WECs affected remain in operation and are producing clean renewable energy. Until the problem is resolved, they will operate in automatic mode and are fundamentally capable of self-contained and independent regulation.

The disruption solely impairs the communication channel between Service and the wind energy converters. This means the wind energy converter cannot be reset remotely in the event of a fault. Instead, a Service team has to perform the reset directly at the wind energy converter. However, grid operators continue to have unrestricted access to the wind energy converters to control their behaviour in the power grid – for example to restrict the feed-in power if necessary for grid stability.

If your WEC is affected by this disruption, you are requested to report any irregularities or faults directly or via your operating control. SCADA monitoring is currently not taking place due to the disruption! Please also inform your marketer of your reachability status and other stakeholders involved, if this is necessary for your wind farm.

A report was sent to the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) immediately as a result of the impairment of the critical infrastructure. ENERCON is in close contact with the federal authorities. Intensive efforts are being made to resolve the disruption together with the responsible providers of the satellite communication network. At the same time, ENERCON is supporting the affected operators and owners in setting up alternative communication links in order to restore remote access as quickly as possible. As soon as alternatives and capacities have been investigated, we will inform you without delay and offer these to you. In addition, reactivation plans for the return are currently being developed.

The exact cause of the disruption is not yet known. However, following an in-depth examination, a technical failure on ENERCON’s side has been ruled out at present. The communication services went down at almost exactly the same time as the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. Around 30,000 satellite terminals are affected across Europe, which are used by companies and organisations from various sectors. The BSI has been warning of an increased threat since last week and has activated the national IT crisis reaction centre.