Permit successes signal progress -- German offshore milestones

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The Nördlicher Grund offshore wind station is the first in Germany to secure permits for its power cable both inside and outside the 12 nautical mile limit. Federal shipping office Bundesamt für Schifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH) has said good for the project's 170 kilometre high voltage DC cable through the exclusive economic zone. And back in February the Schleswig-Holstein state authorities permitted the inner cable route to shore. The power will be beached at Büsum.

One last hurdle remains. The 400 MW project needs a permit for the last leg of the route onshore from Büsum to the high voltage network at Brunsbüttel. The developers of the 80 turbines, for a site 85 kilometres west of the North Sea island of Sylt, are Gesellschaft für Energie und Ökologie and Renergys. Construction is to begin in 2008.

Meanwhile, the 80 turbine pilot phase of the GlobalTech offshore wind station, developed by Nordsee Windpower of Westerholt, has won a construction permit. It is the 11th offshore project planned for the German North Sea to get authorisation from BSH. The pilot phase will use either 5 MW or 6 MW machines to give it a capacity of up to 480 MW. The full project is planned for 777 turbines, or a generating capacity of 3885 MW if 5 MW machines are used, as expected.

The next step for Nordsee Windpower is to secure a permit for the cable route to shore from the planned site 93 kilometres north of the island of Juist. The BSH approved construction permit expires if installation does not begin before October 2009, although an extension is possible. The company must apply to build the next planned expansion phase, involving 240 turbines, within two years of the pilot phase being fully commissioned.

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