The enormous 600 MW offshore Gemini wind power project being developed off the coast Groningen just took another huge step forward, with the authorities behind the project purchasing 150 4 MW, 130-meter-rotor-diameter wind turbines from Siemens.
The deal — completed for €1.5 billion — includes construction and services, and it represents the biggest-ever energy services contract for the German conglomerate.
The project is to be located in the Dutch North Sea, about 85 kilometers north of Groningen, and is expected to produce enough power to supply 1.5 million people with electricity once completed (2.6 terawatt hours of electricity per year). Current estimates are for the project to be operational by the year 2023.
As part of the interesting, 15-year service and maintenance agreement, Siemens is introducing “a highly advanced logistics concept for offshore sites,” which includes, among other things, a dedicated always-ready helicopter; a specially designed, purpose-built service operation vessel; and the assurance that “maintenance work can be carried out at almost all times irrespective of the weather conditions or wave height.”
The press release from Siemens provides a bit more information:
The Gemini consortium has signed all construction, operations and financing contracts yesterday with a total construction budget of nearly €3 billion. With more than 20 parties involved 70% of this budget will be provided on the basis of project-financing – making Gemini the largest-ever project-financed offshore wind farm.
Northland Power Inc, a Canadian independent power producer is the main shareholder, owning 60% of the shares in Gemini. 20% are owned by Siemens Financial Services, while smaller stakes belong to Van Oord (10%) and HVC (10%), a joint venture of 48 Dutch municipalities and six water regulatory authorities.
Offshore wind power comes with many benefits (stronger winds, steadier winds, not as much NIMBY opposition). However, the industry is still very young compared to the onshore wind energy industry, and the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) from offshore wind farms is still much higher.
Aside from this huge project, some other big offshore wind power announcements include movement forward on Cape Wind, which may be the first offshore wind farm in the United States; and the completion of a 1,866 MW offshore wind farm off the coast of Scotland, now the 3rd-largest in the world. Also, $141 million of investment was recently announced by the US government in order to move the offshore wind industry forward in the US.
Image Credit: Siemens
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