Representing investment of more than EUR4 billion, Germany's offshore wind sector topped the 1GW mark in 2014, with 258 turbines and total capacity of 1,049MW feeding into the grid by 31 December. At that point, there was a total of 3,275.5MW grid connected, installed or under construction. That is 50.4% of Germany's 6.5GW offshore wind target to 2020.
The 108MW Riffgat and 288MW Meerwind Sud/Ost wind farms in the North Sea were fully commissioned in 2014, while commissioning has started for the 288MW DanTysk, the 400MW Global Tech One and 295MW Nordsee Ost projects.
The 200MW Borkum West 2 phase 1, also in the North Sea, was ready to operate in 2014 but could not be switched on due to delays in completion of its transmission link to the onshore network. Grid operator Tennet said in late January 2015 that start of a trial operation at the 800MW DolWin1 HVDC link is scheduled for 13 April and is expected to be completed by 19 July this year. DolWin1 is due to serve Borkum West 2, Borkum Riffgrund 1 and MEG Offshore 1. This means Borkum West 2 phase 1 could start feeding in electricity in April.
The 288MW Butendiek, 312MW Borkum Riffgrund 1 and 288MW Amrumbank West North Sea projects, and the 288MW Baltic 2 are all under construction.
Germany doubled the amount of grid-connected offshore wind last year by connecting 142 offshore wind turbines totalling 528.9MW to the grid in 2014, according to the data from Deutsche WindGuard in work commissioned by four wind energy organisations - VDMA Power Systems, German Wind Energy Association (BWE), the Wind Energy Agency (WAB) and the German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation (SOW).
This year, the organisations expect up to 2GW of offshore wind capacity to be newly connected to the grid, raising the total to about 3GW in operation, capable of generating around 14TWh per year, equivalent to the average annual consumption of 3.5 million households, according to BWE.
Preparations are well advanced as a further 268 turbines with a capacity of 1,218MW were completed in 2014 but not grid-connected by the end of that year. Adding these to the 17 turbines with a total of 85MW completed in 2013 but not hooked to the grid brings the number of turbines awaiting grid connection at the end of 2014 to 285 with a total capacity of 1,303MW.
Work was also well advanced on further turbines, with 220 foundations in place at sea by year-end 2014.
Despite offshore wind being capped at 6.5GW by 2020 instead of the previously stated 10GW, and 15GW by 2030, by limiting the permits for the required grid connections, offshore wind-farm operators were relieved when the new Renewables Energy Act (EEG 2014) took effect on 1 August 2014. "EEG 2014 has established the framework for a scheduled expansion of the offshore wind industry, paving the way for more added value in Germany, an increase in exports, and securing jobs throughout the decade until 2020," said Klaus Meier, WAB board chairman, in January.
Allocations of grid connections to the onshore network for a clutch of new projects by German energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNA) in October boosted confidence in the future of the industry.
The significant allocations were to Trianel Windkraftwerk Borkum for 200MW (phase 2 of the project) and Dong Energy's Borkum Riffgrund 2 for 100.8MW. In the Baltic Sea, Iberdrola Renovables Offshore Deutschland was granted 350MW for the Wikinger project and AWE Arkona Windpark Entwicklung 385MW for Arkona Becken Sudost. EnBW Hohe See and Northern Energy OWP Albatros also got the pledge of allocations for their 80 and 79 turbine projects, a total of 954MW if 6MW turbines are used.