Sandbank feeds first power into the grid

Monday, 12 September, 2016 - 11:00
The installation of the foundations for offshore wind farm Sandbank. (Photo: Vattenfall / Ulrich Wirrwa)
The installation of the foundations for offshore wind farm Sandbank. (Photo: Vattenfall / Ulrich Wirrwa)

The offshore wind farm Sandbank has supplied its first wind power to the German electricity network. The first of the wind farm’s 72 wind turbines are successively being commissioned for power production.

The offshore wind power plant Sandbank is located in the North Sea, 90 km west of the German island Sylt. The installation of wind turbines for Sandbank has started in late July and during the last weeks 21 wind turbines with 4 MW capacity each were successfully installed. The wind farm is expected to be fully grid-connected and to deliver at full capacity in early spring 2017.

When the 288 MW wind farm is in full operation, an offshore substation will collect the wind energy, transform it from an AC voltage of 33 kV to 155 kV, and deliver it to a converter station. From there the electricity will be transported as DC voltage over a distance of 165 km to the landing point in Büsum, Germany. In continuous operation, Sandbank will generate approximately 1.4 TWh per year.

During the commissioning phase of the wind turbines, the service operations vessel Acergy Viking is deployed by the project. By using this modified type of ship, the project expects a significant three months gain of time compared to the original planning. Acergy Viking is a so-called “walk-to-work” vessel, which features a special gangway system enabling the commissioning teams to climb onto the wind turbines directly. Additionally, it allows for enhanced safety standards and makes work possible during 24 hours per day. This new concept is used for the first time in the North Sea around Germany with the commissioning of the Sandbank wind turbines.

The commissioning of the first wind turbines underlined the fact that it was possible to start with the generation of electricity shortly after the erection phase, said Hergen Stolle, responsible Package Manager for wind turbines at Vattenfall. Together with the German public utility SWM, Swedish energy supplier Vattenfall started the Sandbank Offshore GmbH, which was founded to implement the project. While SWM holds a 49% stake in the project, Vattenfall holds the other 51%.

Christian Moldan, Head of Offshore Wind Projects at SWM, was happy that the offshore business today makes profitable use of the experiences made in previous projects: “This includes Vattenfall and Stadtwerke München. We were able to transfer the know-how from the ‘sister project’ DanTysk to Sandbank and thus to carry on with our successful co-operation.”

Tanja Peschel / Vattenfall

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