The Berlin Parliament has opened the way for the creation of a new national offshore wind farm test field off the German Baltic coast, reports Tom Todd.
The Bundestag approved what were described as “major changes to the grid connection for offshore test sites” in amendments to its network expansion acceleration act (NABEG).
The changes modify the ‘wind energy on sea’ law and mean an offshore test site can now be created off the coast of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and connected to the national grid. MV is so far the only German state to have provided for the creation of such a test site in its land development programme.
The field is to be located in 20m of water about 12kms from the coast and visible from east Germany’s biggest port complex, Rostock-Warnemünde in the coastal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV). Planned for operation from 2023 it is expected to have space for 10-12 offshore turbines in the 13-15MW class.
MV officials said its closeness to the coast and to Rostock port and city amenities along with its location, had “enormous cost and locational advantages”.
MV Energy Minister Christian Pegel, welcoming the Bundestag decision, said “there is still a long way to go before the test field can be taken into operation”. However work could now start on creating the legal framework for test field grid connection and on selecting technological innovations for testing as well as an operator for the test field.
Germany’s Offshore Wind Energy Foundation also welcomed the Berlin Parliament’s changes. MD Andreas Wagner noted it had been pushing for years for the realisation of a fast network connection for the planned new test field. It said the Bundestag decision “opens the door to more innovation and research in Germany”.
The new Baltic test field’s auspicious predecessor began operation in the German Bight in 2010 as Borkum West and was later renamed Alpha Ventus. In its capacity as an offshore test field with two kinds of turbines it opened up a promising offshore wind energy era in Germany and was a first step towards a new era of energy generation. The Alpha Ventus test field also proved that German offshore projects far out at sea are feasible both technically and financially.