TenneT to link Riffgat 'within weeks'

Transmission operator TenneT expects to complete the delayed connection of the 108MW Riffgat offshore wind farm to the German power grid by mid-February.

An official at utility EWE told Recharge that the commissioning of the park’s 30 wind turbines will commence on 4 February. The utility owns 90% of Riffgat, with developer Enova Energiesysteme holding the remaining 10%.

TenneT in September had said it had cleared 30 tonnes of explosive munitions from World War 2 debris from a final stretch of a submarine cable route, including grenades and boxes of ammunition that had delayed the commissioning of the wind farm.

EWE had already completed the installation of the wind farm 15km northwest of the island of Borkum, but it wasn’t able to feed in to the grid due to the war-debris-related delay.

The delay was mostly blamed on TenneT as the occurrence of munitions on the route had been known. The TSO defended itself alleging that the amount of war debris was far higher than expected, delaying work on the connection.

World War 2 explosives have become a familiar problem to the fledgling German offshore wind sector.

Some 1.6 million tonnes of weapons from both world wars are still lying on the bottom of the North and Baltic Seas, estimates Heinrich Hirdes, a company specialising in explosive ordnance disposal services.

Allied bombers often dropped unused bombs on the island of Helgoland or the open water when returning to UK bases, while some additional ammunition ended up in the sea for training purposes after the war.

Germany connected 240MW of new offshore wind capacity to its grid last year (without Riffgat), all of it in the North Sea, lifting its total to 520MW.