TenneT revisits offshore grid procurement strategy

Multi-contracting might allow TSO to bypass high-cost bids

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The high cost of bids being submitted by the likes of Siemens, ABB and Alstom for the next phase of offshore grid development in the German North Sea may prompt transmission system operator (TSO) TenneT to adopt a new approach to procurement.

TenneT is considering changing its procurement strategy to cut costs, the TSO’s offshore grid managing director, Wilfried Breuer, told Windpower Offshore.

A decision on whether to alter the company’s approach is not imminent, but the TSO is questioning whether the OEMs that won initial contracts will be the best choice to lead future offshore grid expansion projects. A multi-contracting approach might offer better value for money, Breuer said.

Perhaps large EPCI contractors with long-standing marine experience could offer strong project management and lower-priced bids, suggested Breuer, who took up his position at TenneT about a year ago.

Controversy over long delays in construction of the German North Sea’s electricity network dogged the country’s offshore wind industry last year. TenneT’s apparent inability to deliver offshore wind export cables on schedule prompted several developers, including RWE Innogy and Dong Energy, to put projects on hold. Breuer’s comments show that TenneT is frustrated with the performance of its primary contractors.

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