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Germany opens first Baltic Sea offshore wind farm

18 May 2011

50MW Baltic 1 development latest in line of planned German offshore wind farms.

Europe could soon boast a second offshore wind energy hub, as the first commercial wind farm yesterday opened in the Baltic Sea – the first outside of the North Sea. The 50MW Baltic 1 facility was officially inaugurated by German chancellor Angela Merkel.

It is predicted the site would generate up to 185 gigawatt hours of electricity annually, for about 50,000 German homes. Operator EnBW said that the farm, which is located 16 kilometres north of the Darss-Zingst peninsula and features 21 Siemens turbines each standing 410 feet tall, has successfully begun feeding energy to the German national grid.

The company also confirmed that it expects to begin work on the larger 288MW Baltic 2 wind farm next year.
The opening of the Baltic 1 development follows hot on the heels of Germany's first offshore wind farm late last year, the 60MW Alpha Ventus project in the North Sea, and has been hailed as a major milestone in the government's efforts to deliver 10GW of offshore capacity by 2020.

Inward investment agency, Germany Trade & Invest, said the latest project highlighted the attractiveness of the country's emerging offshore wind industry to investors.

"Germany's offshore wind industry is taking off," said Anne Brautigam, wind energy expert at Germany Trade & Invest. "Two parks off two very different coasts have been completed and others are in development. A pipeline is already in place to serve Europe's largest market, and political backing for wind energy is strong. This recipe has led to manufacturers, suppliers and researchers lining up along the country's coastlines."

The new projects – the 400MW BARD 1 development, which is currently under construction, as well as Baltic 2 and the planned Dan Tysk, Nordsee Ost and Amrumbank West wind farms, which combined will deliver more than 1GW of capacity – also highlight the competition the UK will face as it attempts to attract investment for rival developments in the North Sea.