Germany-based power equipment manufacturer Siemens AG has won a US$2.1 billion contract for the Gemini offshore wind park in Groningen, Netherlands.
Siemens has improved its service approach
This will be Siemens’ biggest-ever energy service contract. The company has previously tempered its willingness to bid for big-ticket projects as delays grid connections have led to charges reaching 1.1 billion euros since 2011. This has prompted CEO Joe Kaeser to promise investors that the company would be more circumspect in future contract tenders. Markus Tacke, head of Siemen’s wind-power division, says that the company has improved its service approach for this wind park.
Siemens is to supply 150 turbines with a capacity of 4MW and a rotor diameter of 130 meters each to the 600MW project. The company will also be providing a maintenance service for 15 years. According to Siemens, a helicopter will be available for the project at all times and a specially designed, purpose-built service operation vessel (SOV) will be based at the wind farm.
The total construction budget for the Gemini wind power project is estimated to be around €3bn.
After being fully commissioned, the wind power plant will supply one and a half million people with 2.6TWh of electricity generation capacity per year. The plant is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 1,25 million tons per year.
Offshore wind farms to revive economy
This latest project forms part of the Netherland’s plans to boost offshore wind farms fourfold so that it can revive a struggling economy and create a high level of energy security.
The country plans to increase its wind farms at sea from 1,000MW to 4,450 MW by 2023 from about 1,000MW. The development of wind farms will also help the Netherlands attain its goal of 16% renewables which is currently 4%.
The plans are part of an energy accord which was signed last year. It is a culmination of negotiations between government, industry and lobby groups. The aim of the agreement is to create employment, attract investors to build power plants and meet demand while reducing emissions by as much as 95% in 2050. The agreement will also help the country meet the European Union target of attaining 14% of energy from renewables by 2020.
The nation, which had reduced offshore wind plans due to high costs, is now proposing to add 3,450MW through cost reductions to the technology of about 40%. It also plans to reach 6,000MW of onshore wind by 2020.
With the Netherlands aiming to reduce its reliance on coal for power, an increase in wind power will help the nation replace much-needed electricity.