Low-carbon electricity generation
RWE Innogy is also bundling the competences and power stations in the RWE Group in the area of renewable energies. Since RWE Innogy was established in February 2008, it has more than doubled its generating capacity from 1,100 MW to around 2,800 MW. Some 900 MW of generating capacity are currently being constructed and around 11,000 MW are being developed in additional projects. Within the past five years, RWE Innogy has invested more than €5 billion, including the investments in projects not fully consolidated. One focus of our activities is on onshore and offshore wind-power projects. Over the past two years, we have placed orders valued at around €2 billion with German companies alone in the context of our offshore wind activities. RWE Innogy is also committed to hydropower and biomass. RWE Innogy additionally supports the development of future-oriented technologies, for example in the areas of biogas and solar thermal power. We provide financial support for innovative companies in their phase of establishment or growth, and we give pump-priming financial assistance for a limited period (Innovations).
The conversion of several units at the coal-fired power stations in Tilbury (United Kingdom) and Amer (Netherlands) to combustion of wood means that we have further capacity available amounting to nearly 1,040 MW for generating green electricity.
In the area of onshore wind power, we continued to expand our activities in Poland during the course of 2012 by taking over the Taciewo wind farm. It has a capacity of 30 MW and can therefore supply in excess of 32,000 households with electrical energy. The annual CO2 savings amount to some 65,000 metric t.
In 2012, work in the area of offshore wind continued on our wind farms under construction. One example is the Greater Gabbard wind farm with electrical capacity of 504 MW currently being built off the Suffolk coast in England. This project is a joint venture between RWE Innogy and the British power utility Scottish and Southern Energy. By the end of 2012, the plant was in the final stages of completion and it is scheduled to come on stream in 2013.
The first wind turbine with 6.15 MW – currently the world’s most powerful offshore wind turbine – was erected in the second construction phase of the Belgian Thornton Bank wind farm. The second stage of expansion, already fully operational, and the third expansion stage of the wind farm included a total of 48 more wind turbines of this type, with construction of 30 turbines already being completed in 2012. RWE Innogy remains the biggest private investor in Thornton Bank with a share of 26.7 %. Start-up is scheduled for 2013. The end of August saw commencement of the installation of foundations for the Nordsee Ost offshore wind farm which has been designed for an output of 295 MW.
The development of our second German offshore wind farm Innogy Nordsee 1 with some 330 MW of installed capacity is progressing. We obtained the necessary approval from the Federal Maritime and Hydrography Agency in April 2012. We then signed delivery and reservation contracts for turbines, foundations, cables and a transformer substation in August 2012. Innogy Nordsee 1 has also been accepted in the NER300 subsidy programme for commercial demonstration projects of climate-friendly and innovative technologies in the EU.
Matched infrastructure is a precondition for constructing large offshore wind farms. We therefore decided to purchase two specialist installation ships for building the offshore wind farm. This type of ship is a world first. The ship is capable of accommodating on board several offshore wind turbines in the multi-megawatt class at the same time and then installing them at the final location. The special aspect of these ships is that satellite technology is then used to position them at sea extremely precisely and within a few centimetres before being placed on extendable ‘legs’. This enables a large number of assembly operations to be carried out independently of the waves and swell. The two ships started up operations in 2012 and they have been deployed in the construction of our offshore wind farms Nordsee Ost and Gwynt y Môr.