Germany: ABB’s Presence in Offshore Wind Industry
Over the past three years, ABB’s wind power business has grown on average over 50 percent a year, but historically there have been difficulties associated with wind farms, such as the amount of space they occupy, the importance of their siting (without obstructions such as trees or hills), their noise and the threat to birds and bats.
An obvious but only recent solution is to site the wind farm offshore, such as the Borkum-2 wind park, which is situated in the North Sea over 100 kilometers off the coast of Germany.
Contributing to the Green Economy now and in the future
Borkum-2 is one of the most remote and the largest offshore wind farms in the world, presenting its own challenges to connect its wind-generated electricity to the onshore grid for German utility TenneT Offshore GmbH. The 400 MW transmission link, commissioned by ABB in 2009, uses HVDC Light (high-voltage direct current) technology, and gives the utility company complete control over the power supply and increases the stability of its grid.
This innovative technology is ideal for connecting remote wind farms to mainland networks without distance limitations or constraints on the grid and is also environmentally sound, as it comprises neutral electromagnetic fields, oil-free cables and compact converter stations. The environmental impact was also reduced by laying most of their transmission system underground and under water.
Use of the wind farm instead of traditional fossil-fuel methods to produce electricity prevents approximately 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, a figure that can only rise as Germany’s use of wind energy increases. This venture proved how effectively renewable power sources could be integrated and has led to other countries following suit with similar projects.
Offshore WIND staff, June 06, 2012; Image: abb