Ownership of Butendiek passed to Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) with its purchase of Airtricity early last year. Airtricity took over the financing, construction and operation of the project in June 2007, leaving the original Butendiek group of private investors with an option to buy 50% of the plant once complete. Feddersen says SSE will proceed with Butendiek when construction of its 500 MW Greater Gabbard wind farm off the east coast of England is finished. Installation of turbines begins at Greater Gabbard in the summer in a joint venture with RWE Innogy.
Prequalification of foundation suppliers for Butendiek has begun, along with talks with transmission system operator E.ON Netz for a cable connection to shore. A route running over the island of Sylt to Flensburg is approved, but E.ON is also considering a longer route taking in some other planned offshore stations which would run via Büsum to Brunsbüttel, says Feddersen. The grid company is legally obliged to have a cable link ready when the offshore station is commissioned.
Financing is not holding the project back, reports Feddersen. Given the current difficulties in arranging project financing, SSE is strong enough to pre-finance the station off its balance sheet, he says.