Germany’s demonstration offshore wind farm, Alpha Ventus, has generated more electricity than originally forecast for a second full consecutive year. The wind farm’s 12 5MW turbines achieved 4,463 full load hours in 2012, contributing 267.8GWh of electricity to Germany’s electricity network.
Electricity generation during 2012 was remarkably similar to that achieved in 2011, despite different wind conditions. There was a "very even wind distribution" during 2012, while there was much more variability in 2011.
Commenting on Alpha Ventus’ performance, Wilfried Hube, managing director of operating company Doti, said: "After just over two full operating years, it is still too early to set a standard and permanently raise yield forecasts for the future. Nonetheless, the good reliable power yield generated by Alpha Ventus shows that power generation from offshore wind farms is on the right path."
Electricity generation during the first quarter (Q1) of 2013 has also been strong, totalling 63GWh. This is slightly below generation during Q1 2012, but in line with lower overall turbine availability forecasts for this year, due to service and maintenance works scheduled to begin next month. Last year, Alpha Ventus recorded 96.5% turbine availability.
Alpha Ventus was commissioned in April 2010 and is a joint venture by energy utilities EWE, E.ON and Vattenfall. A fully functional wind farm, the project also acts as a ‘test bed’ for academic and commercial research. One ongoing initiative underway at Alpha Ventus is Areva Wind and SgurrEnergy’s testing of the Galion lidar.
All three companies involved in Alpha Ventus are developing larger commercial offshore wind farms in German waters, with EWE’s 108MW Riffgat due for full commissioning this summer. Vattenfall has joined forces with Stadtwerke München to build the 288MW DanTysk project, due for commissioning next year, and E.ON’s 288MW Amrumbank West is scheduled to be fully online in 2015.