Photos: DONG Energy
The wind is blowing hard 40 kilometres off the west coast of Denmark.
Horns Rev II, the world's largest offshore wind turbine park, will be built here in the shallow waters of the North Sea. All in all, 91 wind turbines will be installed on the sandy bottom to meet the energy needs of 200,000 households.
The Horns Rev II wind turbine park is being constructed by DONG Energy, the leading integrated gas, electricity and heat utility company in Denmark. NIB is financing EUR 160 million of the total project cost of EUR 448 million.
"We are very proud to extend this loan for wind power. This fits the Bank's mandate like a hand in a glove. Energy and the environment are both focus areas for our endeavours," says Nils E. Emilsson, First Vice-President and Head of Lending.
Unique layout increases efficiency
A helicopter with NIB staff onboard takes off from the port of Esbjerg. At the time of the site visit about two thirds of the foundations for the new wind turbine park have been installed.
Horns Rev II underlines the trend towards offshore wind power utilisation in Denmark. It is expected that until 2015 four out of five new wind farm installations will be offshore. Out at sea, the wind is more reliable and stronger than on land and the environmental impact of such installations can be reduced.
Soon we reach the foundations of Horns Rev II. Most of the mono-piles and transition pieces have been installed. When weather conditions are right, it takes only a few hours to hammer one foundation into the seabed. The foundations form a unique layout of 13 yellow rows that bend slightly to ensure optimal efficiency. Twelve vessels and 500 people have been employed to finalise the installation.
Another novelty at Horns Rev II is the accommodation platform. Offshore wind turbines need more maintenance than their counterparts on land. It is planned that in the summer period the park will be staffed to ensure efficient monitoring and operation.
Before the park can be commissioned each row will be interconnected and linked with the transformer station. Wind turbines with a total length of 114 metres above sea level will be installed. Once in operation, the turbines will produce 2.3 MW of electricity each. The energy will be brought ashore via a cable buried into the seabed. The production estimate is 800 GWh per year which equals the consumption of 200,000 households.
Green light for wind power
There is no doubt that Horns Rev II symbolises the efforts of the Danish government to increase the share of renewables in energy production. The park will open when the United Nations Climate Change Convention is held in Copenhagen in November 2009.
A comprehensive environmental monitoring programme has already been carried out on the predecessors of Horns Rev II. At the macro level, wind power is largely supported. Environmental concerns relate to the impact on the immediate surroundings of the wind parks.
"People are generally in favour of wind power. They just do not want to have it in their backyard. Horns Rev II is so far from the coast that you can hardly see it. You can hear the noise only on the open sea when you are close to turbines and the waves are small. It takes two hours by boat to reach Horns Rev II," says Lars Bie Jensen, Environmental Manager at DONG Energy.
The environmental impact is biggest during the construction of the wind park. For example, when the foundations are installed, the noise can be harmful to marine mammals. But at existing offshore wind parks there is evidence that mammals have returned after the construction phase.
NIB has experience with wind power
In recent years, NIB has been very active in financing wind energy projects in Denmark. Horns Rev I, which has already been completed, received a EUR 40 million loan from NIB. Another good example is Nysted Havvindmøllepark off the southern coast, for which NIB contributed EUR 50 million.
Stable long-term funding is the key when financing large energy projects. "The Nordic Investment Bank offers good conditions and financial stability, which we need for these kinds of large-scale investments," says Carsten Krogsgaard Thomsen, Chief Financial Officer at DONG Energy.
NIB is also eyeing other projects in the field of wind power. The Danish government has just approved an even larger offshore wind farm between the eastern coast of the Jutland peninsula and the isle of Anholt.
"NIB is interested in making a contribution to the plans by the Danish government to increase the share of renewable energy production in Denmark," concludes Per Klaumann, Senior Director at NIB.
On its eight-month results, NIB shows an increase in lending volumes and a EUR 150 million profit. The January-August financial results are now available on the website.
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