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Iberdrola Renovables acquires 400-MW German offshore wind farm, but will it float?

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Iberdrola Renovabels has bought 100% of the rights to build the Ventotec Ost 2 offshore wind complex in the German zone of the Baltic Sea. It could be the first to have floating foundations.

The Ventotec Ost 2 offshore wind complex is at an advanced stage of the authorisation procedure, and the wind farm is expected to be commissioned by 2014. The wind farm’s 80 5-MW wind turbines will each generate a total of 1,200 GWh per annum.

Thw wind farm project, which has been acquired from a German joint venture comprising DEE Deutsche Erneuerbare Energien GmbH (Deutsche Bank Group) and Ventotec GmbH (GHF-Group), is earmarked for the northern part of the priority wind area known as Westlich Adlergrund, at a distance of some 40 kilometres from the nearest coastline: the island of Rügen.

39 metres water depth

The average depth of the water at the site is approximately 39 metres, and in a 2008 document, Ventotec confirmed that it would be "the first offshore wind farm with floating foundations to be approved”. Nonetheless, in its press release, Iberdrola Renovables does not mention floating turbines – a technology which it is currently developing as part of the Emerge R&D project.

Nevertheless, the wind industry considers that it is not viable to fix turbines to the seabed beyond a water depth of 35 metres, which further fuels speculation that Iberdrola Renovables will have to employ floating foundations at the site.

Offshore wind division

Iberdrola Renovables recently created an Offshore Wind Division to channel the development of its offshore wind pipeline. The company has recently been awarded, together with Vattenfall, the construction rights to build one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world in the United Kingdom. The North Sea zone, known as East Anglia Array, has the potential to develop up to 7,200 MW, with construction expected to begin in 2015.

This initiative is in addition to others already under development in various areas of Europe (Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom), amounting up to an additional 4,800 MW. Specifically the company is also involved in the development of several further offshore projects in Germany and has a pipeline of 2,300 MW in the United Kingdom, including the West of Duddon Sands facilities -developed jointly with Dong-, with 500 MW, on which construction will begin in 2012, and Argyll Array, up to 1,800 MW. It also develops another 1,000 MW in northern Europe.

In Spain, the company has requested areas to be reserved for conducting preliminary studies before seeking authorisation for six projects, which will be located on the coasts of Cadiz, Castellón and Huelva, with a total of 1,500 MW.

For additional information:

Iberdrola Renovables

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