sandbank offshore windfarm germany sylt vattenfall stadtwerke muenchen

2020 Goal

With the commissioning of the 288-megawatt Sandbank offshore windfarm, Germany is set to achieve its goal of having 6.5 gigawatts of grid-connected offshore wind power by 2020.

Sandbank offshore windfarm

This week saw the official inauguration of the Sandbank project, the latest joint venture between Sweden’s state-owned utility Vattenfall and Munich’s municipal utility Stadtwerke München. The windfarm cost 1.2 billion euro to construct and boasts 72 Siemens SWT-4.0-130 turbines rated at 4 MW each. It can generate enough power for approximately 400,000 German households and offset roughly 700,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. The windfarm is located 90 kilometres west of the island of Sylt.

“We delivered Sandbank three and a half months prior to schedule and well within budget,” said Gunnar Groebler, head of Vattenfall Wind.

In the first six months of this year, two German offshore windfarms have been commissioned: Sandbank and Veja Mate. The two windfarms combined have a generating capacity of 626 MW. According to a group of German wind industry groups, including Offshore Windenergie Foundation, that total will rise to 900 MW by the end of the year, more than 2016’s 818 MW. The groups believe that Germany could easily exceed its 6.5 GW target by 2020 and have 7.7 GW connected to the grid by that time. At the end of June there were a total of 1,055 offshore wind turbines with a total capacity of 4,749 MW in operation.

Falling cost of wind energy

“Electricity production costs have fallen considerably for a number of reasons. Firstly due to new, reliable, more powerful turbines with larger rotor diameters. Secondly, the general increase in the scale of wind farm projects plays an important role. Innovations in foundation structures and better operating and maintenance programmes should also be taken into account. Lastly, there are more favourable financing conditions for offshore windfarm projects,” the wind industry groups stated recently. “As a result of this paradigm shift, the next federal government…could raise minimum capacity targets to 20 GW by 2030. And probably even to 30 GW by 2035.”

The cost of windfarms has fallen dramatically in recent years, faster than was originally predicted by many of the largest wind energy companies. This year was notable when a number of proposed German offshore projects became the first windfarms in the world to be built without government financial aid. Three of the four projects accepted in Germany’s latest wind power auction will not seek any aid and will be constructed by DONG Energy and EnBW.

Source: Industrial Info Resources – 27 July 2017