German utility RWE and G7 energy officials today officially inaugurate the 295MW Nordsee Ost wind park off Germany’s North Sea coast.
Germany's energy minister Sigmar Gabriel is flying out together with his G7 colleagues to the HelWin Alpha converter platform some 35km north of the island of Heligoland.
“Offshore wind energy is a strategically important element of Germany’s energy and climate policy and is key to the success of the energy transition,” Gabriel says.
Within the G7 group of highly industrialised nations, only Germany and the UK have a sizeable offshore wind industry, with both already-operating wind farms and a solid pipeline of parks in construction and development.
Germany this year is expected to lead global offshore wind grid-connections and at the end of 2015 likely will have more than 3GW of operating offshore capacity. Gabriel has said that he sees the country’s renewables sector increasingly as a chance to boost exports and re-industrialise depressed areas of the country.
France, after two rounds of offshore wind tenders, is also readying to fully enter offshore wind, while Japan is taking its first steps in floating offshore and the US is preparing for pilot projects off its East Coast and in Lake Erie.
Offshore wind is increasingly contributing to the results of the otherwise troubled RWE.
“At the end of this year, 40% of our power generation from renewables will already come from offshore power production,” Hans Bünting, chief executive of RWE’s renewables arm RWE Innogy said.
“Thanks to the Nordsee Ost and Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farms our operating result will see double-digit growth.”
RWE said it will commission the 576MW Gwynt y Môr wind park located off the coast of Wales together with its partner Stadtwerke München (SWM) in a month’s time.
RWE has invested more than €1bn ($1.12bn) in the construction of Nordsee Ost. The European Union contributed €50m to the realisation of the wind park as one of the lighthouse projects in the field of renewable energies.
Nordsee Ost features 48 of Senvion’s 6MW offshore machines. At about 160-metres from sea level to the tip of the blade, the wind turbines stand higher than Cologne Cathedral. Each nacelle has a weight of about 350 tonnes and the dimensions of a detached house