The installation of the 80th turbine in the BARD Offshore 1 construction site this week, one month earlier than originally planned, marks the official completion of the installation process for the first commercial offshore wind farm in the North Sea.
The BARD Group has thus affirmed its role as a pioneer in the construction of offshore wind farms, setting as yet unparalleled standards with regard to both size and complexity.
With a total area of around 60 square kilometres, BARD Offshore 1 is equivalent in size to more than 8,500 football pitches, or the dimensions of the town of Flensburg. More than 120,000 metric tons of steel were used to build the 80 wind turbines.
BARD Offshore 1 is by far the most powerful German wind farm on the high seas. It is located around 100 kilometres to the north-west of the North Sea island of Borkum. In the first seven months of this year, a record number of more than 40 turbines were installed and connected to the grid at the same time. This feat was made possible by deploying four jack-up installation vessels, a hotel ship as well as more than a dozen highly specialised support vessels, bringing the size of the workforce permanently based in the construction site to more than 400 employees in 2013.
Following the complete commissioning of all 80 turbines belonging to the 5-megawatt-class, BARD Offshore 1 will provide a nominal capacity of 400 megawatts, roughly corresponding to the consumption of all private households in the Greater Munich area. To date, 65 of the 80 turbines have been connected to the grid; the remaining 15 will be connected by September. As a result, BARD Offshore 1 is already responsible for feeding 75 per cent of the electricity generated offshore in Germany into the grid.
Michael Baur, CEO of the BARD Group, said, “We are incredibly proud of the tremendous effort that was put into completing the BARD Offshore 1 wind farm. Our employees have shown exceptional commitment and dedication in meeting the completion date for construction officially announced in autumn of 2011. The learning curve of the BARD teams involved in this pioneering project has been impressive. The performance shown throughout 2013 demonstrates the speed with which offshore wind farms can be constructed in the future. BARD’s installation success will provide the entire industry with a positive stimulus.”
Jens Hagen, Managing Director of the parent and operating company Ocean Breeze Energy, said, “BARD Offshore 1 is both the successful pioneering project of a young industry and, at the same time, clear proof that offshore wind energy can indeed be the backbone of renewable energy sources. Despite all of the difficulties and technical challenges, the BARD team has achieved groundbreaking results, truly earning our utmost respect and admiration. My sincere thanks go out to each and every one of them.”
In spring of 2010, the BARD Group was the first company worldwide to begin construction of a wind farm on the high seas, around 100 kilometres off the coast and in water depths of up to 40 metres. Up to then, there was no practical experience in constructing wind turbines under such conditions.
Subsequently, the logistical processes had to optimised, in particular due to the weather conditions in the North Sea, until realistic planning could be made possible. Iron discipline, absolute commitment and continuous optimisation of the processes over time, have enabled the finalisation to be completed by the end of 2013, well ahead of the target date originally set in 2011.
Press release, August 2, 2013; Image: bard-offshore