342 megawatt wind farm can supply more than 400,000 homes. RWE tests the world’s first recyclable wind turbine rotor blades made by Siemens Gamesa.
Today, the RWE wind farm Kaskasi, located around 35 kilometres north of the island of Heligoland, officially commenced regular operation in the presence of Robert Habeck, German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. With an installed capacity of 342 megawatts (MW), Kaskasi can supply the equivalent of over 400,000 households with green electricity.
The 38 wind turbines of Kaskasi were successively commissioned over four months. Since the end of 2022, all turbines have been feeding green electricity into the grid. After all required tests were successfully completed, the wind farm is now commencing regular operation. The approval procedure for the wind farm started in spring 2019 and construction was greenlighted by the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie) at the end of 2020. The total offshore construction time was nine months, the investment costs for Kaskasi amounted to around 800 million euros. More than 100 people at RWE alone worked on implementing this large project – hand in hand with the staff from over 70 suppliers.
Robert Habeck, German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action: “Offshore wind is a key driver of the energy transition. Offshore wind turbines can produce more electricity during more hours per year than onshore turbines. We have thus increased the expansion targets in the German Offshore Wind Energy Act considerably, to at least 30 gigawatts by 2030. In addition, we have made significant improvements to the legal framework and took action to speed up approval procedures. With the area development plan, we have put the foundation in place for planning the expansion of offshore wind energy in Germany. Kaskasi was the only new offshore wind farm completed off the German coast last year. Its inauguration is to mark a turning point, we now want to drive the expansion of offshore wind energy forward in a targeted and coordinated manner.”
Markus Krebber, CEO of RWE AG: “Our Kaskasi offshore wind farm was the only that was constructed and connected to the grid in Germany last year. Many more must follow over the coming years for Germany to reach its climate targets. As one of the world’s leading companies in offshore wind, RWE can contribute considerably to achieving these goals. Together with our partner we have just selected the preferred turbine supplier for the next offshore wind cluster off the German coast. The cluster will have a total capacity of up to 1.6 gigawatts. And of course, we will also take part in the large German offshore auctions in summer this year.”
The worldwide first recyclable rotor blades tested under real-life conditions
Three turbines at the Kaskasi wind farm are equipped with the first rotor blades that can be recycled at the end of their life cycle. What is special about this? Thanks to a new type of resin with a special chemical structure, the materials used for producing the Siemens Gamesa RecyclableBlade can now be separated again for the first time. This process ensures that the properties of the individual materials remain intact so that they can be reused. The recyclable rotor blades are also installed at the Sofia wind farm, which is currently being constructed by RWE off the UK northeast coast.
Marc Becker, CEO Business Unit Offshore at Siemens Gamesa: “Approximately 90 percent of a wind turbine can already be recycled. However, up to now it was not possible to recycle the rotor blades. We are now taking the crucial step to elevate the sustainability of wind turbines to the next level and be able to recycle the entire turbine by 2040 at the latest.”
After Nordsee Ost (295 MW) and Amrumbank West (302 MW), Kaskasi is the third RWE wind farm that will be operated and maintained from the company’s service station on Heligoland. Around 100 service technicians, engineers and control room staff ensure smooth operation of the three wind farms. And RWE is continuing to drive forward the expansion of offshore wind energy off the German coast. North of the island of Juist, the company is developing the Nordseecluster in collaboration with a Canadian partner. The four sites will feature a total installed capacity of up to 1.6 gigawatts. The two projects (N-3.8 and N-3.7) of the first construction phase with a capacity of 660 MW are currently awaiting approval. The partners are planning to take part in the German government’s offshore wind auctions and to exercise their rights of entry for the remaining two areas (N-3.6 and N-3.5) this year.
An infographic as well as images form the construction of Kaskasi for media use are available at the RWE Media Centre (copyright: RWE)