Norderney (dpa / lni) – To transmit electricity from North Sea wind farms to the mainland grid, grid operator Amprion has started building two offshore grid connection systems on Norderney Island. At the symbolic cornerstone laying ceremony on the north beach on Monday, representatives from Amprion, Lower Saxony’s Energy Minister Olaf Lies and Norderney Mayor Frank Ulrichs (both SPD) gave the signal to start construction work on the island. Because the cables of the DolWin4 and BorWin4 network connection systems should run under the island. To this end, Amprion will perform four so-called horizontal boreholes through which the island is to flow.
For the first time, four wells could be completed within the two-month construction period in the summer, said Amprion Offshore managing director Carsten Lehmköster. “This is an example of how projects can be accelerated while minimizing the impact on the island’s national park.” Amprion has already started transporting construction materials to the island during the winter to avoid the peak tourist and bird breeding season due to construction traffic on the holiday island.
The DolWin4 and BorWin4 offshore grid connection systems are largely parallel: from the North Sea wind farms, cables initially run 60 and 125 kilometers offshore respectively. A further 155 kilometers will be laid as underground cables from the coast towards the Hanekenfahr substation near Lingen an der Ems. When drilling under Norderney, the cable protection tubes are first inserted into holes where DC cables are then pulled. Overall, both connection systems are expected to carry electrical power of up to 1.8 gigawatts between 2028 and 2029, which is intended mainly for industrial centers in North Rhine-Westphalia. According to Amprion, the transmitted power meets the needs of a large city with 1.8 million inhabitants.
“We already know that these are the first, but certainly not the last, projects,” said Amprion Technical Director Hendrik Neumann. By the end of 2030, Amprion intends to implement five more offshore grid connection projects. Others are planned in the network development plan. Overall, Amprion plans to invest around € 12 billion in network expansion by 2026.
According to the boss of Amprion, the implementation will not be “everything, but a certain success”. There are still many construction sites open. Planning procedures would have to be accelerated in a legally safe manner and of the same quality, but at the same time the interests of climate protection and species protection would have to be properly taken into account. In addition, there is a lack of skilled workers and resources. According to the network operator, there are only a limited number of service providers and machines for special construction processes in coastal waters on the market. “Creative solutions are needed in many places,” concluded Neumann. At the same time, however, the manager was convinced that the expansion goals set for the offshore line would be achieved. If possible, Amprion wants to complete the BorWin4 grid connection project a year earlier than planned, which is similar to its sister project by 2028.
In connection with the commencement of construction of offshore projects, the Minister of Energy Olaf Lies spoke about the “day of incentive”, which shows that energy supplies to Germany have a stable and secure basis. The climate and energy crisis shows that Germany is dependent on energy imports. “Europe’s response to its dependence on fossil fuels is the European coastal system that we are developing,” said Lies. This also includes the development of energy networks for the transport of energy. “Therefore, I am very much in favor of accelerating this expansion.”
The island’s mayor, Frank Ulrichs, said the Norderneyers were now “fairly experienced” with similar construction projects on the island. https://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/. . The challenges lie in finding a balance between the island’s environmental and tourist requirements and the necessary building measures.
The mayor also introduced the island as a location for wind turbines. Until now, they have been excluded due to protected areas and the Norderney Wadden Sea National Park. “I’m thinking of the right sizes to suit the landscape or comparable alternatives.” With Borkum’s planned natural gas production, the question is why alternative CO2-neutral energy production should not be considered in islands like Norderney as well, Ulrichs said.
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