Bard 1 transmission problems continue

GERMANY: The owners of the 400MW Bard 1 project could be due a multi-million payout following a series of outages resulting from transmission problems.

Bard 1 has suffered several outages this year

After five unplanned outages since the beginning of 2014, the BorWin1 cable system connecting the 400MW Bard Offshore 1 wind farm to shore suffered another outage of several hours on 1 June due to problems with the seawater system.

According to operator Tennet offshore 1, the wind farm was unable to feed in power from 9.31am to 10.25pm that day.

Bard 1 is owned by project company Ocean Breeze, which in turn is owned by HypoVereinsbank, part of Italian bank UniCredit.

Previously, on 23 March, a technical problem on the converter platform caused a smouldering fire that damaged a condensator. The fire was extinguished when the network connection system was switched off, according to Tennet.

The transmission system operator cooperated with offshore station project company Bard Offshore 1 to investigate the wind turbines, the wind farm transformer station and the AC/DC converter platform to locate the problem. The outage continued to the last week of May.

Thanks to a revision of the Energy Industry Act that took effect at the end of 2012, Bard Offshore 1 can expect compensation. If electricity feed-in is not possible for more than ten consecutive days due to a cable outage, from the 11th day the offshore wind farm operator can claim 90% of the lost feed-in payments.

If the cable problems occur on more than 18 days in the year, the operator can claim the payments from the 19th day.

The long outage from 23rd March to May, as reported by Tennet, amounted to around 67 days, so compensation should be due for up to 57 days, or 1,368 hours.

Assuming the project would have operated at 40% efficiency (equivalent to 3,500 full load hours per year with 8,760 hours) over the 1,368 hours of outage, it would have generated up to 219,000MWh ( 1,368 x 400MW x 40% ), which at the current feed-in- tariff of EUR 190/MWh was worth EUR 41.6 million. Bard Offshore 1' s compensation could amount to 90% of the sum or up to around EUR 37 million.