Power flows for first time from North Sea to Germany

The Alpha Ventus offshore wind farm features 5-MW turbines from REpower and Areva Multibrid.

For the first time, offshore wind power is flowing from turbines in the North Sea to the German power grid. The consortium of EWE, E.ON and Vattenfall has now successfully started up and adjusted for the regular electricity generation the first three of a total of 12 wind turbines at the Alpha Ventus wind farm. The turbines, with a nominal capacity of 5 MW, are located 45 km/28 miles north of the island of Borkum. It is anticipated that the wind farm’s 12 turbines, five of which have already been completed, will all be in operation by the end of 2009.

“The wind turbines ‘AV 8’, ‘AV 9‘ and ‘AV 12’ are currently undergoing the so-called adjustment phase," explains Wilfried Hube, the overall project leader of Alpha Ventus. "As the name suggests, during this phase all the functions of the turbines are technically inspected and adjusted for the subsequent long-term operation. This is comparable with making technical adjustments to the engine of a new car,” continues Hube. The adjustment phase is followed by a period of trial operation. In this phase, the wind turbines are subjected to various test scenarios, such as operating under full load at different wind speeds.

Construction of the wind turbines began in mid-April this year, after a first attempt had to be aborted in August 2008 due to poor weather conditions. Since April, work has proceeded at such a pace that construction of the wind farm is on schedule. Particularly the pile-driving for the underwater foundations of the six REpower 5M wind turbines will shortly be concluded, in addition to the setting up and putting into operation of the six Areva Multibrid M5000 turbines.

The ongoing activities at sea can be followed online via webcam at www.alpha-ventus.de.