Breakthrough in transmission

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A breakthrough has been achieved in securing transmission capacity for offshore wind power in Germany, reports Ubo de Witt of Sandbank Power, which is developing an 80 turbine project in the North Sea. According to De Witt, E.ON Netz will proceed with a transmission blueprint published by Germany's energy agency Deutsche Energie Agentur (DENA). "E.ON Netz gave an assurance that it would complete the network expansions set out in the DENA 1 study by 2010," he says.

The study identified the need for 850 kilometres of new high voltage cable and the strengthening of an existing 390 kilometres of cables to accommodate power generated by 5.9 GW of offshore capacity planned off the Lower Saxony coast, 2.5 GW off the Schleswig-Holstein coast and 1.4 GW off the German Baltic Sea coast by 2015. Meanwhile, Christian Schwarzenholz from Lower Saxony's environment ministry says substantial progress has been made on the cable route to the Lower Saxony shore for up to nine offshore farms via the island of Nordeney.

The route is sensitive because it passes through the Wattenmeer coastal national park, but talks with stakeholders have brought agreement on the bundling of various proposed cable routes into one route across the island, Schwarzenholz says. The last cable will be laid by 2011, bringing the total capacity of the route to 3000 MW. Bard Engineering, owned by a Russian investor, has agreed to pre-finance the investment on Nordeney and work will begin in autumn 2006. Work has also begun on identifying and permitting a second route to the Lower Saxony shore for later offshore projects totalling 5000 MW.

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