The Offshore Network Development Plan 2013 (O-NEP 2013) outlines five criteria that will be used by regulators to decide the order of offshore wind grid connections. The first is distance from the coast.
Projects likely to be affected include Hochtief's four North Sea wind farms, acquired in March 2012 from Enova. The projects, knowns as NSWP 4-7, are planned for sites 160-200 kilometres from the island of Borkum and are spread across a 300 square-kilometre area.
In the same vein, three priority area for offshore wind development in the German North Sea have been named in the offshore transmission network plan, which prepared the ground for O-NEP 2013.
They are: Nördlich Borkum, Südlich Amrumbank and Östlich Austerngrund. These areas stretch to a maximum 120 kilometres from the coast.
Permits for wind projects in the other areas can still be lodged and the projects developed, "but this evaluation means such projects lying far outside the priority areas would not be prioritised in their further development", states the offshore transmission network plan.