Grappling with offshore wind integration

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Transmission system operator E.On Netz is grappling with how to cope with the large volumes of electricity to come from offshore wind stations in the future. "Already we have 3500 MW rated capacity onshore connected to mainly the middle voltage grid and have to cope with load fluctuations of up to 400 MW within 15 minutes," reported Matthias Luther of E.On Netz at an offshore conference in Berlin last month. "We've commissioned a study to identify transmission network bottlenecks and propose ways of eliminating them, assuming 5000 MW of offshore capacity has to be taken on board." E.On Netz has a 1200 MW link with Denmark, a 1000 MW link with the Netherlands and the Baltic Cable gives it 450 MW out of a 600 MW link to Sweden. Within Germany it has a 1450 MW link to RWE Net and a 2980 MW link to E.On Netz Süd. Once complete in 2004, the Viking Cable will provide another 600 MW to Norway, said Luther. Links to Veag in eastern Germany provide 1940 MW in low demand periods and 4460 MW in peak load periods, he added. Luther also noted that with nuclear power stations steadily going off-line over the next 20 years, wind turbines will be required to carry out grid stabilising tasks like provision of reactive power. "We are already discussing how to improve the technological capabilities of turbines with the manufacturers," Luther says.

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