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Why missing routes are a threat to the offshore industry

Wind power from the sea has established itself as a source of electricity, but its expansion will initially be slowed down - there is a lack of transmission networks. The northerners want to bypass the bottleneck and use the energy more locally.

At shortly after half past twelve Norbert Brackmann goes into the air. A winch pulls him together with a paramedic on board the helicopter, which is in the air above the catamaran. Brackmann (CDU) does a helicopter tour around the Arkona offshore wind farm on the Baltic Sea, then it goes down again.

The federal government's maritime coordinator cuts a fine figure during the rescue exercise. You can hardly get any closer to the reality of offshore wind energy on a flying visit like this: "The crews of the ships and helicopters out here are doing a great job," says Brackmann, relieved, when he is back on the supply ship.

Offshore wind power has established itself as a source of energy for Germany. The first German marine wind farm was inaugurated just ten years ago, the Alpha Ventus test field off the East Frisian islands. In the meantime, 22 offshore wind farms with around 1,300 wind turbines... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Wind power from the sea has established itself as a source of electricity, but its expansion will initially be slowed down - there is a lack of transmission networks. The northerners want to bypass the bottleneck and use the energy more locally.

At shortly after half past twelve Norbert Brackmann goes into the air. A winch pulls him together with a paramedic on board the helicopter, which is in the air above the catamaran. Brackmann (CDU) does a helicopter tour around the Arkona offshore wind farm on the Baltic Sea, then it goes down again.

The federal government's maritime coordinator cuts a fine figure during the rescue exercise. You can hardly get any closer to the reality of offshore wind energy on a flying visit like this: "The crews of the ships and helicopters out here are doing a great job," says Brackmann, relieved, when he is back on the supply ship.

Offshore wind power has established itself as a source of energy for Germany. The first German marine wind farm was inaugurated just ten years ago, the Alpha Ventus test field off the East Frisian islands. In the meantime, 22 offshore wind farms with around 1,300 wind turbines in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea are constantly generating electricity.

Arkona, 35 kilometers northeast of Rügen, is the newest system to date. On April 16, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) inaugurated the 1.2 billion euro wind farm. The energy company E.on built it together with its Norwegian partner Equinor and operates the 60 wind turbines from Siemens with a total output of 385 megawatts. Arkona is supplied with people and material from the port of Sassnitz on Rügen, it is the largest of the four offshore wind farms in the German part of the Baltic Sea to date.

Missing long-distance line: The electricity does not reach the consumer

Offshore wind power is indispensable for the restructuring of the German energy system. The power plants at sea deliver more and more steady electricity than systems on land. And the conflicts in construction and use are far fewer at sea than on this side of the coast. Nevertheless, the expansion of offshore wind power will be stopped for the time being. Around 6,400 megawatts of power are currently on the grid, in purely mathematical terms the capacity to supply around 6.5 million average households with electricity. By 2020, the offshore output with those parks on the North Sea that are still being built will increase to around 7,700 megawatts. Then, at least at the construction sites at sea, nothing happens for a few years.

"By 2030, Germany should generate 65 percent of its electricity from renewable energies," says Brackmann, while the supply ship travels through the wind farm in sunshine and little waves. “When compared to the individual technologies, offshore wind power has the greatest potential. But we have to be realistic: the electricity must also be able to reach the consumers. "

On and off the coasts in northern Germany , far more wind power can already be generated than is consumed. The largest German pipeline, the Südlink, from Schleswig-Holstein to Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg is expected to transport electricity from north to south in eight years at the earliest. The route is controversial and lawsuits against the project are expected.

Many wind turbines, especially in rural locations in northern Germany, are therefore regularly switched off, and the grids cannot take up their electricity. The project owners are nevertheless compensated with almost the full electricity price, according to the law on the expansion of renewable energies. An absurd situation .

Companies fear brain drain

The offshore wind power industry, on the other hand, complains that the important German market will come to a standstill in the next few years. With the completion of the first generation of offshore parks, including Arkona, the development and approval of the projects will also be changed. In future, the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) in Hamburg will be fully responsible for this. The federal government wants to ensure that the construction of new offshore parks goes hand in hand with the expansion of the pipelines.

“There will be no tenders for new offshore wind farms in Germany before 2021,” says Sven Utermöhlen, Chief Operating Officer of E.on Climate & Renewables. “These parks will then be built in the middle of the next decade. Before that, we cannot reach any other projects here on the home market. ”As a result, for example, skilled workers could move on or the companies involved could fall behind technologically.

Offshore wind power companies such as E.on, Vattenfall or EnBW hope that their expansion targets will be raised significantly, at least in the medium term. An expansion to 15,000 megawatts is currently planned by 2030. “An increase to 17,000 megawatts would be desirable and also feasible with the expansion of the grid,” says Utermöhlen, while the captain pushes the catamaran to the pillar of an offshore turbine for a demonstration in order to transfer technicians. Other players in the industry are even calling for the offshore generation capacity to be expanded to 25,000 to 30,000 megawatts by 2035.

In northern Germany in particular, there is a discussion about how to avoid the bottlenecks in the power grid. The coastal countries want to build a hydrogen economy and thus reach all energy markets in Germany, in addition to the electricity market, the production of fuels and the generation of building and industrial heat. The electricity required for electrolysis - the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen - is to be supplied by wind power, primarily from offshore parks.

This so-called green hydrogen can be used to produce synthetic natural gas, gasoline or kerosene. “We will have this researched on an industrial scale with model federal projects in the coming years,” says Brackmann. From his point of view, synthetic, climate-neutral fuels can also be used by shipping in the future.

The prospects of a wind and hydrogen economy appear as friendly as the weather and the sea on this day off Rügen. However, there are still many hurdles to overcome before such a system can be set up. The wind farm developer WPD from Bremen wants to build the Gennaker offshore park between the Darß peninsula and the Hiddensee island. With more than 100 wind turbines and 865 megawatts of planned output, it would be the largest offshore wind farm on German waters to date.

Because it is supposed to be within the twelve-mile zone, it is not the federal government that is responsible for its approval, but the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which has already given its approval. The community of Zingst auf dem Darß wants to stop the project in court over fears it will damage to tourism.

The dream of climate-neutral kerosene

If the wind farm is not prevented in this way, the federal government will come into play again in the end. The responsible network operator 50Hertz may only connect the generator to the land network if the federal government gives the offshore industry a short-term increase in capacity. The responsible associations have been haggling with the government over a special offshore contribution for a long time. Will it actually exist? The German government's maritime coordinator, Norbert Brackmann, prefers not to say anything about this on the return trip from the Arkona wind farm to Sassnitz.

Translated using Google Translate.


Source: https://www.welt.de/regiona...

JUN 14 2019
https://www.windaction.org/posts/52459-why-missing-routes-are-a-threat-to-the-offshore-industry
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