Ten years ago a breakthrough was made in the offshore wind energy sector in Germany – the energy group EnBW commissioned the first commercial offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea.
Baltic 1 is a 48.3 MW wind power plant located 16 km off the German coast. The foundations were installed at a depth of 18 MW in the second quarter of 2010 and the commissioning of the power plant took place on May 2, 2011. At that time, the guest of honor of the ceremony was Chancellor Angela Merkel, who with the help of a special button officially launched the farm.
The power plant consists of 21 wind turbines manufactured by Siemens Gamesa (SWT-2.3-93), which supply energy to 50,000 households. The schedule is to operate the farm for 15 more years.
Service is carried out from the port of Barhöft, where the service base and control center of EnBW are located. The plant is operated by eight service technicians who carry out daily maintenance and repairs at the offshore wind farm.
– We are very satisfied with the wind performance and technical availability of Baltic 1, both of which are well above our expectations,” comments Ralf Neulinger, Head of Renewable Energy at EnBW.
Franck Mastiaux, CEO of EnBW said that the project was a pioneering achievement in Germany and for the company. The investment demonstrated at the time that offshore wind farms are economically viable. Since then, the developer has built three more offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea with a total capacity of 976 MW. The company’s current goal is to expand into the market of the renewable energy sources, particularly offshore wind energy.
Today Germany is one of the leaders in offshore wind in Europe.
During these 10 years, Germany has established itself in the offshore wind energy sector by developing more projects in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. As of the end of 2020, 29 offshore farms have already been connected to the German grid, corresponding to 7,689 MW of installed capacity in 1,501 wind turbines (WindEurope). Currently, Germany is second in Europe after the UK in terms of installed wind farm capacity.
In 2020, 219 MW (32 turbines) were installed in German waters, the lowest annual growth in 10 years. Due to a poorly defined energy policy framework (prolonged pause in auctions), no new power plants could be built in H2 2021. Offshore wind energy has stalled for the time being and expansion is not progressing. The industry is worried about the impact of this gap on employment, among other things, particularly in 2021.