Thursday, October 30, 2008

First Offshore Wind Turbine Operating in Germany

The first offshore wind turbine in Germany started producing power on Tuesday. Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel turned on the first turbine at the future Hooksiel complex near the coastal city of Wilhemshaven. "Offshore wind power is of key importance for our future energy supply and a decisive factor in achieving our expansion goals for renewable energy," Gabriel said.

The 5MW pilot project located a mere 500m from the beach is a proof-of-prototype for an eventual 80 turbines to be placed 100km off the North Sea island of Borkum. Construction on that facility is planned to commence in 2009.

Germany joins Denmark, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Ireland and the Netherlands as the only countries generating offshore wind energy. Plans for offshore wind are underway in many places in Europe and in the United States. Offshore wind has been slower to catch on due to its higher costs, but this is changing due to continuing demand growth, the lack of additional land-based sites with good wind, and the development of new platform technologies.

Last year 14% of German electrical supply came from renewable sources, up from 11.5% in 2006. Germany has a 30% target by 2020--the most ambitious goal in the European Union.
By 2030 they aim to provide 15 percent of households with electricity produced at offshore wind farms, the equivalent of around 25,000 megawatts.
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