Germany Speeds Up Installation Of Sandbank Offshore Wind Farm

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Originally published on Renewables International.
By Craig Morris

Sandbank, a wind farm going up off the German coast, is proceeding ahead of schedule thanks to new installation plans. At the end of May, the project was potentially 89 days ahead of schedule and could therefore be completed in 23% less time.

IWR Online reports (in German) that a new ship is being used to provide 24-hour operation. Staff can sleep on the ship they use to transfer to and from the construction site on the high seas, making it a kind of combined hotel and gangway system connecting to the turbines themselves.

To make transfers to the turbine towers safe, the ship has to withstand waves up to 2.5 m high. The Sandbank offshore wind farm is the first project in which the ship has been used. It is being built some 90 km off the coast of the island of Sylt.

Vattenfall and Stadtwerke München, the municipal utility of Munich, are behind the project. The latter is a somewhat ironic investor given that the state of Bavaria is blocking development of high-voltage power lines needed to connect offshore wind in the north to the city of Munich.

Like so many German offshore wind farms, this one was initially to be much larger at 576 MW. It will now come in at 288 MW, but the rest could be built at a later date.

Relatively small 4 MW turbines made by Siemens are being installed at the site. The company is already selling offshore models twice as large, so an extension could produce far more power from fewer units.

Reprinted with permission.

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