EnBW and BP are building a wind farm the size of Berlin

Status: 01/17/2022 2:55 p.m

The Karlsruhe utility EnBW and its British partner BP have been awarded the contract for a gigantic wind farm off the Scottish coast. RWE also has big plans for the offshore market.

Wind farms on the high seas play a central role in the decarbonisation of the energy supply. One of the pioneers in this field is the Baden energy group EnBW. Together with its British partner BP, the Karlsruhe-based company has today been awarded the contract to build a wind farm off the coast of Scotland. The project is located almost 60 kilometers off the coast of Aberdeen and covers 860 square kilometers – an area the size of Berlin.

From 2026/2027, the “Morven” wind farm is to be built here, which means “child of the sea” in Scottish Gaelic, with a total capacity of 2.9 gigawatts. In purely mathematical terms, this means that more than three million households can be supplied with wind power. It is already the second offshore project that EnBW and BP are developing in Great Britain. A year ago, they were awarded an area in the Irish Sea. The “Morgan” and “Mona” projects are to be built there with a total output of up to three gigawatts.

1500 wind turbines in German waters

EnBW started in May 2011 with the commissioning of Germany’s first commercial wind farm in the Baltic Sea, north of the Fischland-Darss peninsula. On an area of ​​seven square kilometers, “Baltic 1” supplies around 185 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, enough for 50,000 households. Because the energy transition can hardly succeed with wind farms of this size, the projects have become larger and larger in the following years. The “Baltic 2” park has been in operation off the east coast of Rügen since 2015. With 80 wind turbines, it is already four times larger than its predecessor and can supply 340,000 households with electricity.

There are now exactly 1501 wind turbines in German waters. Together they achieve an output of 7.8 gigawatts, which is 156 times that of Baltic 1. Nevertheless, the pace of expansion must be further accelerated if Germany achieves the target of 30 gigawatts of electricity from northern and wants to reach the Baltic Sea.

Big plans from RWE

Whether this can actually be done remains to be seen. But the number of projects is steadily increasing. RWE, the world’s number two in offshore wind farms, intends to triple its capacity in this area from the current 2.4 gigawatts to eight gigawatts by 2030. At the beginning of January, the group announced, together with its Canadian partner Northland Power, that it would advance the development of a 1.3 gigawatt (GW) offshore wind cluster in the German North Sea. The two groups want to develop and build three wind farms, which are expected to start commercial operation from 2026.

The project covers a total of three areas north of the island of Juist. The partners secured a site (N-3.8) for a wind farm with an installed capacity of 433 megawatts (MW) last year. Two more areas for wind farms with a total capacity of 900 MW are to be awarded in an auction in 2023. The joint venture has entry rights for both locations.

The expansion is part of major growth plans, for the implementation of which the Essen-based group intends to invest 50 billion euros over the next few years. This is intended to double the capacity for generating green electricity from the current 25 to 50 gigawatts by 2030. However, RWE points out that the areas in the German areas of the North Sea and Baltic Sea may not be sufficient to be able to implement the planned expansion of all offshore parks. “Because the competition at sea is fierce. Shipping, tourism, nature conservation, fisheries, mining, marine, offshore wind – they all claim their rights,” says RWE. The group therefore demands joint use of the areas.

World’s largest wind farm under construction in China

However, gigantic offshore wind farms are not only planned or under construction in Europe, but also in the USA, India and China. In China, construction of the world’s largest wind farm with a planned capacity of 20 gigawatts has begun. The wind farm, called Gansu Wind Farm, will ultimately have around 7,000 wind turbines. The entire project is part of the Beijing government’s Renewable Energy Sources Law, which came into force in February 2005. According to this, wind power should cover around 25 percent of electricity requirements by 2030.


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