In 2019, the transmission system operator TenneT has already met and even significantly exceeded the German government’s 2020 expansion targets for sustainable North Sea wind power. The federal government’s target for the North Sea and Baltic Sea for 2020 is a total of 6.5 gigawatts. TenneT’s current total of twelve operating offshore grid connection systems for the transmission of wind energy from the German North Sea to land alone now deliver a total capacity of 7,132 megawatts.

“We are pleased that we have already achieved the goal set by the federal government ahead of schedule,” said TenneT Managing Director Tim Meyerjürgens, “and with the three other offshore grid connections currently being implemented, we will be capable of delivering 10,000 megawatts of transmission capacity from the North Sea in 2025 in Germany alone. We are pushing ahead with grid expansion on land just as rigorously, because this holistic approach is the key to a successful energy transition.”

The wind energy transmitted from the North Sea by TenneT reached a new record in 2019 at 20.21 terawatt hours (TWh)*). This would be enough, for example, to cover the annual consumption of more than six million households. The 2019 result exceeded the previous year’s value (16.75 TWh) by 20.7 percent. Measured against Germany’s total wind output (122.07 TWh, offshore and onshore counted together)*), the North Sea wind power yield achieved a healthy share of 16.6 percent in 2019. 

“We also successfully put our first offshore grid connection into operation in the Netherlands in 2019. By 2023 we will develop the connected load there to 3,500 megawatts. In addition, we are advancing our ‘green projects’ and innovations in order to achieve the climate targets we are aiming for in Germany and Europe,” said Meyerjürgens, giving two examples: From the end of 2020, NordLink will for the first time connect the electricity markets of Germany and Norway directly with one another and link German wind energy with Norwegian hydropower in a mutual exchange. Together with partners in the automotive industry, TenneT is currently looking at promising test runs to store and exchange electricity between electric cars and the grid.
Another key question that concerns TenneT: How may it be possible to cover Central Europe’s electricity demand using clean wind energy alone? TenneT has developed the idea of the North Sea Wind Power Hubs, which will open up to 180 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2045 and simultaneously better interconnect the grids of the countries bordering on the North Sea. “Together with our European partners, we are pursuing a modular, step-by-step approach, which will later include a combination with power-to-gas systems. This is not science fiction: A first hub with a capacity of 10 to 15 gigawatts could go into operation in the early 2030s,” says Meyerjürgens.

Additional offshore balance data
The previous maximum infeed performance of North Sea offshore wind farms reached 6,077 MW on 5 December 2019. The capacity expansion for North Sea offshore wind farms was at 6,436 MW on 31 December 2019.

The wind turbines in the Baltic Sea (not within the TenneT grid area) generated 3.95 terawatt hours in 2019, which means Germany’s total offshore yield amounted to 24.16 terawatt hours. With an additional 97.91 terawatt hours of generated onshore wind energy, the total yield is thus 122.07 terawatt hours.*)

*) Financially subsidised electricity in accordance with the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), without other direct marketing; for 2019, as the preliminary actual value. The volumes of energy produced onshore and in the Baltic Sea for the months of November and December 2019 are incorporated as preliminary estimated values.

Image source: Courtesy of TenneT

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