Germany

Germany

Cable permit delays stall development -- Waiting game for 3500 MW

Four projects totalling 1440 MW secured construction permits last year to bring Germany's approved offshore wind proposals for the Baltic and North Seas to 11 projects with a combined capacity of 3451 MW. All but 400 MW is in the North Sea. A further 20 project applications have been filed with the federal shipping office, while five to ten additional nearshore projects are under consideration. In all, offshore projects for around 26 GW are in the pipeline.

None of the projects approved for development so far have all the necessary transmission cable permits in place to fully proceed. The result is that German offshore project construction remained at a standstill through 2005. Two months ago, however, a single Nordex 2.5 MW turbine was installed at the port of Rostock, 500 metres from the harbour wall, for developer Wind Projekt Ingenieur und Projektentwicklungsgesellschaft. It brings Germany's total offshore wind capacity to 7 MW from two projects, both of which barely get their towers wet.

Offshore projects need two cable permits, one for a transmission route in the designated 12 nautical mile zone from the coast, and the other for the distance to the wind farm outside the zone. Of the 11 planned projects with construction permits, just two -- the 60 MW Borkum West project in the North Sea and the 400 MW 80 turbine Kriegers Flak pilot project in the Baltic Sea -- have the second cable permit. None have the first.

At the earliest, good news on cable agreements could come by the end of this year for a few developers. For the remaining projects, 2007 is the earliest that decisions are expected, largely because of the number of issues that need to be considered in the decision process.

Three of the four projects approved last year are for 400 MW each. In the North Sea, Dan Tysk is sponsored by Gesellschaft für Energe und Ökologie (GEO), while Nördlicher Grund is led by a joint venture of Renergys and GEO. In the Baltic Sea, Kriegers Flak is being developed by Offshore Ostsee Wind, a joint venture between WPD and Wind Projekt Ingenieur und Projektentwicklungsgesellschaft. The fourth project is the 240 MW Offshore North Sea project developed by Enova.

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