Alpha Ventus outstrips forecast

Germany's pioneering 60MW Alpha Ventus offshore wind farm has passed the 1TWh production milestone, having ramped up to supply electricity equal to demand of some 285,000 homes since its switch-on four years ago.

The 12 turbine offshore development flowed an average 253.14GWh a year between 2011-13, beating forecast output by around 10%, and operating at a capacity factor of 48.1%.

Production last year slipped to 224.6GWh due to a combination of lower winds and technical downtime, falling 3.3% below the projected average annual yield.

“Offshore is not yet routine. The economic, safe and environment-friendly operation of an offshore wind farm in the North Sea continues to be our key goal," says Wilfried Hube, chief executive of development operator DOTI, a consortium made up of EWE, E.ON and Vattenfall

"The results for 2013 are [nonetheless] better overall than we had still been expecting in September.

“The two storms 'Christian' and 'Xaver' generated good yields during the last quarter."

The research and development feed-back from Alpha Ventus, built around six Areva M5000 turbines and six REpower (now Senvion) 5MWs standing 45km off the coast of Borkum, has been incorporated into the design, construction and operation of offshore projects Riffgat (EWE), Amrumbank West (E.ON) and DanTysk (Vattenfall).

“The further expansion of offshore wind power requires the right political framework to be in place," says Hube.

"[Germany's] offshore target of 6.5GW installed capacity by 2020 remains ambitious. The three follow-up projects to Alpha Ventus demonstrate that the energy utilities are doing their share.”