Construction schedule firms up -- Butendiek alive and well

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Germany's oldest offshore wind project, which received its construction permit back in 2002, expects to start work on turbine foundations in 2011 and complete installation in 2012, says Hans Feddersen of project developer OSB Butendiek. In its latest reincarnation, the Butendiek project is to consist of wind turbines with a rated capacity of 3.6 MW to 5 MW installed in the North Sea near the Danish-German border. An earlier preliminary contract for 80 Vestas 3 MW turbines at the site was annulled in 2005.

Ownership of Butendiek passed to Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) with its purchase of Airtricity early last year. Airtricity took over the financing, construction and operation of the project in June 2007, leaving the original Butendiek group of private investors with an option to buy 50% of the plant once complete. Feddersen says SSE will proceed with Butendiek when construction of its 500 MW Greater Gabbard wind farm off the east coast of England is finished. Installation of turbines begins at Greater Gabbard in the summer in a joint venture with RWE Innogy.

Prequalification of foundation suppliers for Butendiek has begun, along with talks with transmission system operator E.ON Netz for a cable connection to shore. A route running over the island of Sylt to Flensburg is approved, but E.ON is also considering a longer route taking in some other planned offshore stations which would run via Büsum to Brunsbüttel, says Feddersen. The grid company is legally obliged to have a cable link ready when the offshore station is commissioned.

Financing is not holding the project back, reports Feddersen. Given the current difficulties in arranging project financing, SSE is strong enough to pre-finance the station off its balance sheet, he says.

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