German energy company E.ON and Norwegian oil, gas, and wind company Equinor have announced this week that their 385 megawatt (MW) Arkona offshore wind farm has generated its first electricity into the German electricity grid.
The Arkona offshore wind farm has been running ahead of schedule as the developers seek to bring it to completion and operation in record time. The offshore substation and all 60 foundations were installed ahead of schedule, as was the offshore cabling which connects turbines to substation.
Announced on Monday, E.ON and Equinor revealed that, with 44 wind turbines already installed, the first turbine has been brought online and first power was fed into the German electricity grid right on schedule.
“It only took one year from the first monopile installation to the first electricity feed-in,” crowed Sven Utermöhlen, COO of E.ON Climate & Renewables. “Rarely before has a project been built so straightforwardly. This is a great achievement on the part of our team and all our project partners and at the same time an important step towards further optimization of offshore wind projects.”
Located 35 kilometers northeast of the island of Rügen, Germany, the 385 MW Arkona offshore wind farm will be able to supply the equivalent electricity needed for approximately 400,000 German households, and will avoid up to 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 annually.
“First power in the Arkona wind project represents a milestone in the market of renewable energy and we are proud to participate together with E.ON and the transmission system operator 50Hertz,” said Pål Coldevin, Equinor’s head of New Energy Development and chairman of the Arkona steering committee. “Arkona is Equinor’s fourth wind farm coming online in Europe since 2012 and supplements the delivery of energy to Germany. It is yet another important contribution to Equinor’s ambitious strategy, where the company is developing from a focused oil and gas company to a broad energy major, building on our extensive offshore experience and more than 40 years as one of the largest energy providers in Europe.”
E.ON and Equinor hope that all 60 Siemens Gamesa wind turbines will be installed and online by the end of the year. In addition to bringing the first turbine online, the Arkona electrical offshore substation was also energized.
When asked if the company envisages a day when it might transition to a business platform that is primarily renewable over primarily fossil fuel-based as it is now, Equinor (which recently renamed itself from Statoil) seemed to hesitate.
“The transformation of the energy markets brings attractive business opportunities for Statoil,” said Elin A. Isaksen, Equinor spokesperson. “We are shifting from a focus on just oil and gas to a much broader focus on energy, and we believe a low carbon footprint will make us more competitive.
“We are working to radically reduce our own emissions, grow significantly in renewables, change the way we run our business, embedding climate into our strategy and incentives,” Isaksen added. “Oil and gas will remain key to providing the world with energy for many years, and must be produced and consumed with as few emissions as possible. We aim to find and produce new resources with ever-lower carbon emissions, and are already amongst the world’s most carbon-efficient oil and gas producers.”
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