alpha ventus

Operating result of the pilot wind farm  higher than expected in 2011

Offizielle Inbetriebnahme des Windparks alpha ventus: (v.l.n.r)  Dr. Wulf Bernotat, Vorstandsvorsitzender E.ON; Bundesumweltminister Dr. Norbert Röttgen; Dr. Werner Brinker, Vorstandsvorsitzender EWE; Tuomo Hatakka, Vorstandsvorsitzender Vattenfall Europe

Photo: DOTI/alpha ventus, 2010 (Matthias Ibeler)

The first German wind farm on the high seas, the alpha ventus test field, 45 km north of the Island of Borkum, officially began operation on April 27th, 2010. The wind farm comprises a total of 12 plants with a performance of 5 MW each, bringing the total performance of alpha ventus to 60 MW. The systems produced 267 million kilowatt hours in their first full year of operation in 2011, which is approximately 15% more power production than planned.


alpha ventus delivers fundamental knowledge for further offshore development

The German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) granted the permit to the pilot wind farm in 2008 under the name 'Testfeld Borkum West' (test field Borkum West). alpha ventus was realised by the consortium Deutsche Offshore-Testfeld und Infrastrukturgesellschaft (DOTI), which comprises the energy companies EWE, E.ON Climate and Renewables and Vattenfall Europe Windkraft. The alpha ventus test field is used to collect practical experience for the further commercial use of the wind energy in Germany.


Data sheet: alpha ventus - "Testfeld Borkum West"
Operator DOTI GmbH
Owner of the permission Stiftung OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE
Location North Sea, 45 km north of Borkum island out of the 12 der 12-mile zone
Coordinates 54° 00,0’ N 6°34,4’ E
54° 01,6’ N 6°34,4’ E
54° 01,6’ N 6°37,3’ E
54° 00,0’ N 6°37,4’ E
Wind turbines 6 x AREVA Multibrid M5000, 6 x REpower 5M
Full capacity 12 x 5 MW = 60 MW
Start of construction August 2007
Day of comissioning 27th April 2010


Construction progress and Status quo

The first construction stage was already realised in the autumn of 2008 with the completion of the transformer station at the south eastern corner of the wind farm. The laying of a submarine cable with a length of approximately 60 km for the connection of the wind farm to the German power network began a year earlier. This partial project was completed at the beginning of 2009.

The installation of the first wind energy plants then began. In August of the same year the first plants were connected to the grid and in November 2009 the installation of all 12 wind energy plants was completed. The wind farm comprises 6 wind energy systems each by AREVA and REpower with the foundations installed at a water depth of approximately 30 metres.


Various types of foundations are used in offshore wind energy plants. While the AREVA systems have tripod foundations, the REpower systems use jacket foundations. The advantages and disadvantages of each foundation type are to be analysed in this practical test. The official initial operation of alpha ventus took place on April 27th, 2010 and was carried out by Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen and representatives of the DOTI consortium and the OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE foundation.

During the construction of alpha ventus the consortium was able to gain first insights for the realisation of offshore projects. For example, bad weather conditions were the main reason for delays in the installation of the foundations and turbines, showing that a suitable weather window of approximately 4 days is required for the installations of the foundations, which was not always available.


Accompanying research for the acceleration of entry into offshore wind energy

The pilot project off the North Sea coast in Lower Saxony will provide experience and information on the installation of further commercial wind farms  on the high seas, particularly through its extensive accompanying research. The research initiative RAVE (Research at alpha ventus) is at the centre of the accompanying research.