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Major step forward for the offshore expansion of the German power grid

Published:  08 July, 2014

Siemens’ installation of the BorWin2 offshore platform in the North Sea northwest of the island of Borkum is a major step forward for the offshore expansion of the German power grid.

The installation marks Siemens' achievement of the second crucial milestone in the German grid connection projects under contract with the German-Dutch network operator TenneT.

Siemens had already erected its first converter platform for the HelWin1 connection off Heligoland in the North Sea in August 2013. The BorWin2 transmission capacity of 800 megawatts (MW) is enough to meet the power demand of some 800,000 German households. On the platforms, the alternating current generated by the wind turbines is transformed into low-loss direct current for transmission to the mainland by using Siemens technology. The BorWin2 onshore converter station, likewise supplied to TenneT by Siemens, is located in Diele. There the electric power from the connected wind farms is converted back into the alternating current required to feed into the power grid.

Karlheinz Springer, CEO of the Power Transmission Division within the Energy Sector of Siemens AG commented: “We are now in the final stretch to achieve commissioning in the first half of 2015, as promised. When the two platforms installed by us go on line, they will be able to supply more than 1.3 million households.”

Lex Hartman, member of TenneT management explained it is set to make major progress in expanding its offshore capacity in the coming months and will bring the German government's offshore expansion targets within reach. In mid-2010 the grid operator TenneT placed the order for the BorWin2 offshore wind farm grid connection with a consortium comprising Siemens and the Italian cable specialist Prysmian.

Siemens is realising five North Sea grid link-ups for TenneT: HelWin1 (576 MW) and HelWin2 (690 MW) off Heligoland, BorWin2 (800 MW) and BorWin3 (900MW) off Borkum, and SylWin1 (864 MW) off Sylt. The first four platforms HelWin1 and HelWin2, BorWin2 and SylWin1 are set to begin commercial operation in rapid succession between the second half of 2014 and the first half of 2015. In April 2014, Siemens won the order for the fifth grid connection in the North Sea., BorWin3, in a consortium with Petrofac. It is scheduled to go on line in 2019. Once commissioned, the grid connections installed by Siemens will have a total transmission capacity of over 3.8 gigawatts (GW). It is expected that due to Siemens' efficient high-voltage direct current (HVDC) technology, transmission losses per link are likely to be less than three percent, not including cable losses. 

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