EnBW confirms 2014 commissioning date for Baltic 2

Unexpected challenges for 288MW project, but still on track

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EnBW’s 288MW Baltic 2 project should be commissioned in 2014 as scheduled, despite a number of challenges that have required additional research, testing and project redesign.

"I’m pretty confident that we can stick to the 2014 deadline, as long as we have the good weather we need," said Udo Christiansen, EnBW project manager for Baltic 2, speaking at GL Garrad Hassan’s offshore wind conference in Hamburg. Project financing for the 288MW project was finalised in January.

EnBW’s in-house project management team has successfully resolved a series of unanticipated challenges, explained Christiansen. These have included complex questions linked to monopile engineering and, crucially, a monopile failure test that had to be conducted onshore at a Swiss site.

Originally,  jacket foundations were the sole foundation type featuring in Baltic 2, but soil conditions forced EnBW to opt for monopiles within a large portion of the site. German regulator BSH demanded that the developer conduct an onshore monopile failure test, which Christiansen described as highly useful but time consuming. It also required an additional investment of about €12m.

"Monopiles have been a major hiccup," acknowledged Christiansen. Once monopiles featured in the revised project design, EnBW had to consider ice-related risks. It then discovered that there are "just four experts in the world capable of conducting the necessary assessments", said Christiansen.

Inter-array cable routes also posed a problem, with permitting issues as well as boulders and hard soil conditions complicating installation plans. The result was a "complete redesign of cable routes" based around much longer cable lengths.

Nonetheless, Baltic 2 is now making good progress, according to Christiansen. Foundations will begin to be installed around the middle of this year, with cable laying due to start by year-end. Construction of Alstom Grid’s offshore transformer station is well underway in Kiel and Hochtief is lined up to install the 80 Siemens 3.6MW turbines. The port of Sassnitz will be used for turbine pre-assembly and staging.

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