GERMANY Vattenfall’s offshore wind farm Sandbank is now supplying the German electricity network with its first wind power from the North Sea, three and a half months ahead of schedule.

The installation of wind turbines for Sandbank in the German North Sea started in late July. 21 of a total of 72 wind turbines are successfully in place and on 7 September, the first electricity from Sandbank was delivered – three and a half months ahead of schedule.

“Despite an unusually windy summer with rough seas, we are still well ahead of schedule,” says Martin Zappe, Technical Project Manager for Sandbank.
”Improved working methods have made it possible for the commissioning teams to keep working - without compromising on safety.”

Tougher conditions
Compared to the UK and Denmark, the countries with the most offshore wind farms, the German expansion in the North Sea brings additional challenges. Since the German North Sea coast is a national park, turbines must be built far from land, in more distant, difficult, and deeper environments.

Sandbank lies approximately 110 kilometres from the German coast and travelling back and forth by boat would steal precious working time, up to six hours per day.

“We now avoid losing time by using a ‘mothership’ so large that off duty technicians can stay on board, instead of travelling back to the coast after their shift every day,” says Martin Zappe.

It is a smart way of saving time. A crew works 12 hours a day for two weeks and then gets two weeks off. With this system, it is possible for work to be carried out 24 hours a day, by using several teams.

Sandbank is expected to be fully connected to the grid by early spring 2017.

When fully commissioned and in operation, the wind farm will generate an annual amount of electricity corresponding to the consumption of 400,000 German households. 

See slideshow with images from Sandbank

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