The first turbine foundation destined for RWE Innogy’s Nordsee Ost offshore wind station will leave the port of Bremerhaven this week. The energy utility is not slowing down construction of the offshore wind station despite a well-publicised risk that the station could lay idle for some time because, initially, it will not be connected to the mainland electricity network.
Nordsee Ost’s 48 foundations are expected to be installed by next spring. By proceeding with construction of Nordsee Ost even though transmission system operator (TSO), TenneT, cannot yet provide it with a firm date for the station’s grid connection, RWE may be seeking to put additional pressure on the TSO – and, indirectly, the German government - to speed up cabling work.
RWE may also be aware that by pressing ahead with foundation installation it could become eligible to receive compensation from TenneT – and, therefore, indirectly from German electricity consumers. Compensation would be required if Nordsee Ost were to be ready to commission and if grid connection was not complete.
Compensation would begin to be paid by TenneT – with provision for costs to be passed onto consumers - from the eleventh day after non-connection, according to draft policy published by Germany’s federal finance and environment ministries at the beginning of the month. An offshore wind station is defined as “ready to commission” once foundations are installed.