Wind Wire: Final turbine up

All 12 5 MW wind turbines for Germany's first offshore wind farm, the 60 MW Alpha Ventus project in the North Sea, 45 kilometres north of the island of Borkum, have now been installed.

Turbine manufacturer Repower installed the last of its six machines on November 16. Six Multibrid turbines were already in place and have been running trials since August. The EUR250 million Alpha Ventus test project was built by a consortium of companies including EWE, E.ON and Vattenfall. It is the largest wind project in the world using 5 MW machines. All 12 turbines were installed within seven months and the project is on schedule. Commissioning is currently taking place, with completion expected by year-end. Repower worked with a larger transport jack-up rig than on previous offshore projects. This meant that a complete turbine, rotor star, nacelle and two tower components could be shipped to site. The company says it was able to erect one turbine in about a day. "The construction of twelve 5 MW wind turbines 45 kilometres from the shore in waters 30 metres deep is a true piece of pioneering achievement and is the first of its kind worldwide," says overall project director Wilfried Hube from EWE.

Dutch energy company Eneco has been granted initial site permits for two offshore wind farms off the Netherlands' coast. The Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management granted the permits to two divisions within the Eneco group - Eneco New Energy for a 212 MW project at Scheveningen Buiten, 28 kilometres off the Scheveningen district of The Hague; and Evelop for its 165 MW Q10 project, 23 kilometres off Ijmuiden. Both New Energy and Evelop were involved in the construction of the 120 MW Princess Amalia wind farm, formerly known as Q7. Evelop was acquired by Eneco in June, following the bankruptcy of its parent company, Econcern. If all goes to plan, Eneco hopes that both wind farms will begin operating in 2015.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is considering providing over £300 million of funding for investors in the high-voltage connections to UK offshore wind farms. It will be available for six transmission projects, which will connect a total of 1.6 GW of offshore wind power. The estimated value of all six connections is nearly £1 billion. Energy regulator Ofgem is currently conducting a competition to select owners and operators of a total of nine connection projects. Thirteen bidders have been shortlisted and will now submit tenders to compete to become offshore transmission operators (OFTOs). The six projects that are eligible for EIB loans are Sheringham Shoal (315 MW), Ormonde (108 MW), Greater Gabbard (504 MW), Thanet (300 MW), Walney 1 (178 MW) and Walney 2 (183 MW). The three projects not being considered by the EIB are from the first round of UK offshore development and are sited nearer to shore.