Germany’s federal maritime and hydrographic agency, the BSH, has approved three North Sea sites for future offshore wind development.
The three sites in Germany’s exclusive economic zone could support 1,880MW of offshore wind capacity, the government agency believes.
They are due to be tendered between 2022 and 2023, with wind farms coming online in 2027 and 2028.
The BSH published details of the three sites in the country’s federal law gazette this week.
The N-7.2 site is located 85km north-west of the East Frisian Islands, an archipelago off the north-west coast of Germany. It could support 980MW of offshore wind capacity in a 58km2 area. It is due to be tendered by network agency the Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) in 2022, and the wind farm could come online in 2027, according to the BSH.
Meanwhile, the N-3.5 and N-3.6 sites are located adjacent to one another 40km north of the East Frisian Islands. They could support 900MW of offshore wind capacity in a 120km2 area – 420MW in N-3.5 and 480MW in N-3.6. They are due to be tendered by BNetzA in 2023 and the wind farms could come online in 2028, the BSH stated.
BSH president Karin Kammann-Klippstein said the three sites could help Germany meet its “ambitious expansion goals for offshore wind energy”. Germany’s new coalition government recently boosted the country’s offshore wind targets to 30GW by 2030 and 70GW by 2045.
However, Heike Winkler, managing director of German offshore wind industry group WAB, called for the N-3.5 and N-3.6 sites to be tendered in 2022, rather than in 2023.
She said it was important for Germany to accelerate its plans for offshore wind deployment – especially after no new capacity was installed in 2021 – and added: "It is important to use all potentials now and not to lose any more time unnecessarily in order to realise climate-protecting value creation. This would give the supply chain a chance for earlier orders, and would help to smooth out the foreseeable strong expansion at the end of the decade.”
Germany’s federal network agency (Bundesnetzagentur) requires sites’ suitability to be determined before auctioning wind farms. The BSH had to consider protection of the marine environment, in particular marine mammals and seabirds, and shipping interests when approving the sites.
Germany has nearly 7.7GW of operational offshore wind capacity, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.
Following the tenders planned for 2022 and 2023, developers may exercise "step-in rights" for either of the sites. Swedish utility Vattenfall holds the step-in rights for the N-7.2 site, German energy firm RWE could swoop for the N-3.6 site, and Canadian developer Northland Power could snatch the rights to the N-3.6 site.