E.ON, RWE and WindMW presented their plans for the construction of a base for the maintenance and operation of their offshore wind farms planned in the German North Sea.
The plans provide for the development of the southern port of Heligoland to create a service and operating station. To this end, a total of three service buildings are to be erected with workshops and warehouses on a site of some 10,000 square metres.
With the plans for the erection of an operations base for offshore wind farms, we are taking an active part in the energy turnaround. Heligoland would be the first island in the German North and Baltic Sea to benefit on such a scale from the development of offshore wind power. The creation of this new branch of industry will come with new jobs, growing purchasing power and rising trade tax revenues for Heligoland, emphasized Jörg Singer, Mayor of Heligoland municipality.
The planning conditions for the erection of the operations base in the southern port are to be created before the end of this summer. The newly founded port operator, Hafenbetriebsgesellschaft Heligoland (HGH), coordinates the required activities. This includes the development of the site, the upgrading of the quay edge and the creation of altogether ten mooring berths by erecting an additional landing pier. Heligoland municipality has already initiated the required amendment to the development plan for the southern port. The construction of the service base and the upgrading of the port could then be carried out in the course of next year and be completed late in 2012. Once the plans have been implemented, up to 150 people would work for the operation of the offshore wind farms and live on Heligoland. Even more temporary jobs would be created among suppliers, construction and shipping companies.
Prof. Martin Skiba, Head of Offshore Wind Power at RWE Innogy said: We are already starting the construction of our Nordsee Ost offshore wind power plant at the end of the year. We intend to use Heligoland as service centre already during the construction phase, but especially for the entire lifetime of the wind power plant. With its exposed position, some 40 kilometres off the coast, this island is cut out for developing such an operations base. It is all the more important to create the necessary infrastructure quickly now.
A total of three offshore wind farms is to be operated and maintained from Heligoland in the future. Apart from the Nordsee Ost project (295 MW) of RWE Innogy, they include Amrumbank West (approx. 300 MW) of E.ON and the Meerwind project (Süd and Meerwind Ost) (288 MW) of the US financial investor Blackstone. This offshore wind power plant is being built and will be operated by WindMW GmbH. All three wind farms are situated between 25 and 35 kilometres off Heligoland. An offshore wind farm has a lifetime of some 20 years.
The development of the port of Heligoland into a service and operations base is an important element of our offshore scheme, explained Sven Utermöhlen, Managing Director of E.ON Climate & Renewables Central Europe. Heligoland will be the construction and operations base for our Amrumbank offshore wind farm with which we intend to consistently expand our portfolio in the offshore segment. We are looking forward to continuing the cooperation with the municipality of Heligoland and are absolutely confident that we will be able to build one of the most modern operations ports for offshore wind power there.
Offshore wind power systems require more maintenance than onshore wind turbines because the stresses created by waves and seawater are greater. Short distances and good downstream service logistics are therefore essential preconditions for the economically efficient operation of such power plants, explained Jens Assheuer, Managing Director of WindMW GmbH. Standard maintenance of an offshore wind power system takes about one to two days per year. Unforeseen events may require additional maintenance. For the planned operations base on Heligoland this means that vessels with service staff will set off to the offshore wind farms and return when the work is complete in the evening every day. The vessels will be loaded with tools and spare parts and refuelled from the quay edge.
The example of Heligoland goes to show that offshore wind energy drives the economic development along the coast and on the islands in the 21st century. Tens of thousands of new jobs can be created in the north if the offshore targets of the federal government can be realised by 2013, emphasized Jörg Kuhbier, Chief Executive Officer of the Offshore Wind Energy Foundation. Heligoland is just the beginning! The creation of more offshore infrastructures – ports and logistics – for the development of offshore wind power has to be supported and coordinated as a national project by the federal and state governments.