The 400-megawatt (MW) wind farm, located 130 kilometers from the coast in the North Sea, is expected to save carbon dioxide emissions of 1.5 million tons per year by avoiding the need for additional fossil-fuel generation.
ABB is connecting the park – the most remote wind farm in the world – using high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission technology. Although HVDC has been available for more than 50 years, ABB’s development of the technology to produce the related HVDC Light about 10 years ago provided the technological means to build wind parks far from the coast.
Wind farms can be further from shore thanks to ABB technology.
Germany aims to generate 20 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020, compared with about 14 percent in 2007. Wind power accounted for about 40 percent of Germany’s electricity from renewable sources last year, but with the best onshore locations already developed, the country’s utilities are turning to offshore sites.
The main attraction of going offshore is the enormous wind resource available. Average wind speeds can be 20 percent higher than on land, and the resulting energy yield from wind farms as much as 70 percent higher.
While three-phase alternating current (AC) links are a cost-effective way to connect small offshore wind farms near the coast to the electricity network, HVDC Light has emerged as the technology of choice for more distant offshore parks.
Power can be fully controlled using HVDC Light, so that the intermittent electricity supply from a wind farm cannot disrupt the grid. HVDC Light transmission systems are also extremely efficient, with very few transmission losses, even over long distances.
The use of oil-free cables running underwater to the coast, then underground to a substation 75 kilometers inland, are further ways in which the transmission technology minimizes the environmental impact of the BorWind1 project. The 80-turbine farm is scheduled to enter service in 2009.
Offshore wind-power capacity, though currently small, is growing faster than onshore capacity. The 20 countries that are members of IEA Wind, a branch of the International Energy Agency, increased offshore wind capacity by 26 percent in 2007 from 2006, compared with a 21-percent increase for onshore capacity.
ABB is the world’s largest supplier of electrical products and services to wind turbine manufacturers, with a portfolio ranging from generators to compact substations to grid connections.