Summer, 2012: A heavy-load vessel approaches the German Bight. 45 km off Borkum’s northern coastline, the gigantic barge stops and drops 800 t of steel with millimetre precision onto the bottom of the North Sea. Over a ten-month period, this spectacular process was repeated a total of 40 times. But what was being dumped time and again into the depths? 30 m below the surface, 40 tripods have been erected since the summer of 2013, forming the foundations of the Borkum offshore wind farm – an impressive feat of engineering.
Another 40 tripods are destined for installation during the next phase of construction of the offshore wind farm. Over an area of 56 km2, 80 wind turbines will eventually generate a total of 400 MW of power – without emitting a single tonne of CO2. At the time of writing, the first phase of construction has been completed and the wind farm is already delivering 200 MW, supplying 200,000 households with electricity.
By the final phase of construction the Owner Operator, Trianel Windkraftwerk Borkum GmbH & Co. KG, expects to have made an investment of € 1.6 billion. After all, the wind in the North Sea is something you can count on; with no obstacles such as mountains or buildings, it blows at speeds of around ten metres per second.
Article published in: FuturENERGY November-December 2014