Shoddy Parts Trip Up Major North Sea Wind Farm
Unforeseen problems at the Alpha Ventus wind farm have lukewarm investors reevaluating the billions of euros they have invested in offshore wind energy.
Germany's first offshore wind park was dealt a blow with the failure of two turbines due to inferior materials. The rough patch has energy executives scurrying to reassure Berlin and banks scrutinizing their billions in offshore wind energy investments.
Less than two months after celebrating its opening, the Alpha Ventus test wind park in the North Sea is already running into problems. Intended to be the initial thrust in a plan that foresees dozens of new offshore wind parks off the German coast, shoddy building materials have caused two turbines to overheat and fail. An additional four turbines will need to be replaced.
Each of the struggling turbines was manufactured by the French firm Areva, which is responsible for half of the 12 turbines in the four-square-kilometer park (1.5 square miles), located about 45 kilometers (28 miles) north of the island of Borkum.
Areva said Friday that overheating was unforeseen and "not sufficiently considered" from the outset. As a result, the company will invest in a facility in Bremerhaven to test its turbines under full-load capacity before sending them out to sea.
The turbines, which had only been in operation for eight months, will be replaced by late summer, according to Areva. more