Vattenfall is forging ahead with offshore wind

Tuesday, 7 June, 2016 - 09:45
Vattenfall's largest offshore wind farm to date, Horns Rev 3, is being built on the west coast of Denmark. The overall investment volume will be approximately one billion euros. (Photo: Vattenfall)
Vattenfall's largest offshore wind farm to date, Horns Rev 3, is being built on the west coast of Denmark. The overall investment volume will be approximately one billion euros. (Photo: Vattenfall)

Vattenfall has decided to go ahead with the investment for constructing Denmark's largest offshore wind farm, Horns Rev 3. Vattenfall, Stadtwerke München and their project partner Siemens have developed a concept which will shorten the installation time of the turbines at the offshore wind farm Sandbank in the German North Sea.

Vattenfall won the tender for Horns Rev 3 in February 2015 with an offer of 102 € per MWh of generated electricity over a period of approximately twelve years. When the expected service life of the Horns Rev 3 wind farm is factored in, the price is approximately 85 €/MWh. According to the company, this makes Horns Rev 3 the most cost-effective offshore project that Vattenfall has ever carried out. The total investment volume for Vattenfall's largest offshore wind farm to date will be one billion euros.

Horns Rev 3 is being built in the North Sea off the west coast of Denmark and will have an installed capacity of up to 400 MW. It will be equipped with 49 wind turbines from MHI Vestas, each of which will have an output of 8 MW. Construction and commissioning of Horns Rev 3 will take approximately three years.

"Horns Rev 3 is an important part of our ambitious wind power goals, particularly in the offshore area. By going ahead with Horns Rev 3, we are sending a clear strategic signal to our business environment to continue investing in renewable energy and promoting the growth of wind power. Vattenfall supports the transition to a system of producing energy exclusively from renewable sources. We accept this challenge despite the current low market prices for electricity and existing overcapacity", said Magnus Hall, president and CEO of Vattenfall.

Vattenfall intends to double its installed wind power capacity to 4,000 MW by 2020. To achieve this, the company is investing approximately € 5.5 billion in the expansion of wind energy.

Shortened turbine installation processes for Sandbank

Vattenfall already operates the offshore wind farm DanTysk in Germany and is currently building its sister project Sandbank in the immediate vicinity in the North Sea 90 kilometres west of the island of Sylt. The total investment for Sandbank is approximately € 1.2 billion.

Vattenfall, Stadtwerke München (SMW) and their project partner Siemens have now jointly developed an optimised concept for installing and commissioning the 72 wind turbines at Sandbank. Compared to the original plan, the period of time between the installation of the first wind turbine to the full commissioning of the final turbine is expected to be shortened by 89 days. That is 23 percent less.

One of the factors contributing to the time savings is the use of a combined hotel and transfer ship. It has a special gangway system that allows commissioning teams to transfer directly to the wind turbines. The system compensates for ship movements caused by waves, so personnel transfers are much safer and can even be performed in wave heights up to 2.5 meters. Lost time due to bad weather is reduced, particularly in the autumn and winter. The new concept also allows work to continue around the clock. The concept will be implemented for the first time in connection with the start of construction work on the wind turbines for Sandbank in August 2016 in the North Sea.

Gunnar Groebler, head of the wind division at Vattenfall, said: "The construction of offshore wind farms has undergone rapid technological development during the few years since this young industrial sector got started. That development is now steadily continuing in areas such as operation and maintenance of wind power plants at sea. I am confident that this will have a positive impact on costs and competitiveness, especially for future offshore projects. We need real competition to achieve further cost reductions and secure long-term acceptance of this technology."

Silke Funke

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