Germany outlines massive expansion of offshore wind

In a move that could turn out to be a major boost for the European renewable energy sector, Germany’s Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) has published a major new plan for the expansion of offshore wind energy. 

The proposals come as the country seeks to wean itself off an over-dependence on external energy supplies, especially Russian gas, following the invasion of Ukraine last year.

The plan maps out the build-out of offshore wind by 2030, at which date the country is expected to reach 30 GW of capacity connected to its grid, as well as outlining further deployment of wind turbines at sea.

With the development plan now in place, Germany has specified  areas for new offshore wind farms in the North and Baltic Seas, as well as a tendering timeline, commissioning and grid connection. 

The plans by BSH will ensure that the 30 GW target can be met, the Economy Ministry said in a statement, with the possibility that there would be enough space for 40 GW by 2035, and possibly more than 10 GW on top of that by that date.

“The BSH plan, alongside our offshore agreement of November 2022 (with states and power grid operators), is another piece in our master plan to reach the high goals for the expansion of renewable energies,” Economy Minister Robert Habeck said.

Indeed, the plans represent a quadrupling of current capacity, which amounts to 8 GW.

Because offshore wind can be turned into clean hydrogen via electrolysis plants, plans for a North Sea-originating pipeline to carry 1 GW hydrogen have also been mooted.

There are also provisions to integrate Germany’s turbines into a wider offshore network encompassing North Sea-bordering European neighbours.

Germany’s moves come in the same week that Italy-based company Mazar Wind  has requested a maritime concession for a floating offshore wind farm off the Sicilian coast. The project envisages 74 wind turbines and four offshore substations.

The floating wind farm would be built in the stretch of sea off Mazara del Vallo, at a minimum distance from the Sicilian coast of 50 kilometres, and will connect to the national grid at an onshore substation in the municipality of Mazara del Vallo.

Each of the 74 turbines is planned to have a nominal output of 15 MW, making the total capacity of the project some 1.1 GW.

The electricity produced by the floating wind farm would first be fed into four 66 kV/150 kV offshore substations which will raise the voltage level to 150 kV/220 kV before power is further transferred to the onshore connection point via a 150 kV submarine cable.

Mazar Wind’s application – submitted to the Directorate General for the Supervision of the Port System Authorities, Maritime Transport and Internal Waterways of the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport in November 2022 – is currently undergoing public consultation at the Coast Guard of Mazara del Vallo.

The application requests a 40-year concession for the construction and operation of the 1.1 GW floating wind farm.

Germany’s moves come in the same week that Italy-based company Mazar Wind  has requested a maritime concession for a floating offshore wind farm off the Sicilian coast. The project envisages 74 wind turbines and four offshore substations.

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