Unreliable Power: Major Technical Failure Sidelines Another Offshore Wind Park…Adding To Exploding Costs

I’ve reported earlier on Germany’s BARD 1 offshore engineering fiasco, where technical problems continue plaguing the wind park and has yet to deliver power on shore to reach markets. Even today the situation there remains unclear.

Moreover, just days I ago I reported how an expert institute confirmed that offshore wind park installations are highly vulnerable to the harsh sea conditions and plagued by stratospheric maintenance costs.

Well there is another major wind park that is now struggling with major technical problems and thus will not be able to deliver power until at least (optimistically) April. The giant offshore Riffgat wind park hasn’t delivered power since November of last year, so reports NDR German public broadcasting here. Hat-tip Gerti at FaceBook

Riffgatt offshore windpark

 North German NDR public broadcasting reports on the shut down of the Riffgat offshore wind park, located in the North Sea. Image source: www.riffgat.de/riffgat/windpark/

Failed underwater power transmission cable

According to NDR, the power supply has been interrupted due to a failed underwater power transmission cable that serves to deliver the power onshore. That means a loss of 7 million euros per month in revenue, which the consumers will have to pay because Germany’s feed-in act required power companies to pay for the electricity produced by win parks even if it is never delivered. If that sounds strange, it is so because the market-hostile law is the sort of thing one would find only in old communist regimes.

The NDR clip reports that the reason for the failed cable is unclear, and could be caused by an error during installation or during the production itself. The cable fault itself is 22 kilometers from the wind park, just east of Borkum Island. Normally repairing the cable would be a routine matter, but there’s one big problem:  the seabed is riddled by old WWII munitions, which first need to be removed before repair works can start.

The Riffgat website here says the wind park consists of 30 units 3.6 megawatt-class wind turbines located some 15 kilometer away from the North Sea island of Borkum near the Netherlands. Each wind turbine has a 120 meter rotor diameter and the hub height is 90 meters. The turbines are firmly anchored by 70-meter steel bases rammed 40 meters into the seabed.

The Riffgat wind park also has a transformer station that feeds the power to the seabed transmission cable, which in turn delivers the converted power on shore. The Riffgat wind park is operated by Oldenburg-based power company EWE.

The NDR clip reports that EWE is not really too concerned about the technical problem and that it is not receiving 7 million euros worth of power each month. This is so because grid and transmission cable operator Tenet is required to pay EWE the money whether the power gets delivered or not. And where is Tenet going to get that kind of money? You guessed it! The costs, like everything else with the German Energiewende, just get passed on to the lowly consumers.


34 responses to “Unreliable Power: Major Technical Failure Sidelines Another Offshore Wind Park…Adding To Exploding Costs”

  1. mwhite
  2. yonason

    “Germany Launches its Largest Offshore Wind Farm on the North Sea: Bard Offshore 1”

    It is the beginning of a new era: The first high-sea (offshore) wind farm went into operation. Soon more will follow despite great risks in financing.
    . . . .
    Bard Offshore 1 is the first wind farm project on high sea for Germany and represents a technological and logistical masterpiece.
    . . . .
    It is the first large wind farm, which was completed in the North Sea and has a working network connection.

    I wonder if the other 8 that were under construction when that article was written have been finished yet, and how many, if any (possibly the alpha ventus?), share a cable with Bard1?

  3. Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)

    When I worked in the wind industry I tried to encourage the company to move into offshore wind maintenance – because it was obvious that those involved had no practical idea how to maintain these brutes but also that the offshore environment would cause far more failures even than the massive problems onshore.

    The response: we are building a new massive ship – sure that will really be useful!!!

    1. Bernd Felsche

      Is that ship an oil tanker to resupply diesel to keep the wind turbines turning?

  4. yonason


    “BARD was a developer of offshore projects which decided to manufacture its own turbines and do everything in-house. It managed to obtain a financing for the project from the German/Italian bank Unicredit, but has not been able to sustain its business and the bank is now in charge of completing the project.”

    And it looks like BARD1’s problems aren’t anything new (from about 1 and 1/2 years ago)…
    “The difficulty facing engineers is how to get the electricity generated back to shore. So far, every attempt to turn on the turbines has resulted in overloaded and “GENTLY SMOULDERING” offshore converter stations.”
    Maybe if they tell us the bad thing in a good way, it won’t be as upsetting? …like “Hi, Dave, I love your new house. The flames against the night sky were spectacular.”

    And I answered my own question re the connections. Some yes, some no.

    In short, there may be yet more skeletons to see in that closet, for those brave enough to take a peak. (as I see now that I re-read the article that Pierre has already done).

    1. yonason

      the “some yes, some no” link doesn’t work for me now. Here it is

  5. DavidH

    “EWE is not really too concerned about the technical problem”

    Well I wouldn’t be either if I could get money for nothing like they are.

  6. yonason

    This time, it’s my fault!

    I re-posted because it didn’t accept my first, leaving this message.

    Error 503!
    ___article URL here___
    Service Unavailable!

    Apparently it saves the comment, and posts it later.

  7. DirkH

    I hope the nonproductive Riffgat wind turbines don’t decay too much while producing no power. It would be too bad if they needed expensive repairs once their income depends on them actually working again.

    1. Bernd Felsche

      Forgotten already?

      Not to worry: Off-grid operations are well provided for by diesel fuel.

      It is detrimental for wind turbines at sea not to be in operation, so EWE temporarily equipped the turbines with diesel generators. This allows the mechanical components to be in motion so that they do not get rusty in the aggressive sea air. Instead of generating electricity, the wind turbines and the substation are consuming electricity for cooling as well. The generators are burning through 22,000 L of diesel every month, according to energy supplier EWE from Oldenburg.

      Coal, oil and gas ease the pain of the Energiewunde.

  8. John F. Hultquist

    EWE has no incentive to fix this. If they spend to fix it they get X amount of money. If they don’t fix it they get X amount of money. What would any bright person do?
    Will the cable operator, Tenet, pay for the fix and raise fees to customers? Will the government pay to fix it and raise taxes on everyone?

    The best thing to do is to build a new coal power plant and allow the structures to become habitat for whatever wildlife can make a living thereon. Eventually, all will fall into the sea as corrosion, wind, and waves do their thing.

    Lawyers and contract writers for EWE must be smarter than those working for everyone else!

  9. yonason

    Previous delays and unforeseen expenses.


    a little premature announcement of completion, though
    Dangerous work, too, for a project that will ultimately be found to be so useless.

    Not the least of the problems being their expense, which for some reason keeps on growing.
    Costs Continue to Challenge Offshore Wind Industry

    1. yonason

      “Costs Continue to Challenge Offshore Wind Industry”

  10. Analitik

    Expected to be repaired in March by NKT. So sometime in March..


  11. auralay

    “…electricity produced by *win* parks even if it is never delivered…”

    Very true a win-win situation for the operators.

  12. dennisambler

    “the seabed is riddled by old WWII munitions”

    Is that a problem or a solution?

    1. DirkH

      They’re obviously wimps. Shying away from saving the planet only because of a minor risk. They’re endangering the planet through criminal inaction and should be held accountable.

  13. pvt

    Enclosed the organogram of TeneT (according to their site)


    The 100 % owner of the company (both Dutch and German part) is the Dutch state. It is not clear to me when TenetT has to pay EWE, the Dutch state has to pay the bill (and so taxpayeers and/or Duch/German consumers). Could be fun for the legal departments and/or Dutch/German/Brussels politics.

    1. DirkH

      One cent per kWh in Germany electricity bills goes into an extra slush fund exactly to pay off shore wind farms that don’t deliver. So don’t worry, we got this. Enforced by our lunatic, crazy, wild-eyed, mad Bundestag parties. All of them are all for this.

  14. Peerke

    These are the kind of ships involved:


    1. sod

      Yes. And as soon as a fleet of such ships is available, prices will start dropping.

      Abnd these ships are for real reapairs, not painting the mast.

      1. Analitik
        1. sod

          The sea can be dangerous. We should close all oil platforms immediately.

          Just think about how much it costs to paint them as well!

          1. DirkH

            sod, you want to compare the energy density of an offshore wind turbine with the output delivered by an oil well? Have you any idea of the number of orders of magnitude there is in difference? Let me hazard a guess, about six zeros? Just guessing.

            There’s a reason oil wells don’t get subsidized but wind energy is.

            BTW for your education. A drilling rig is a huge expensive giant contraption. A production platform is tiny and inexpensive. And these days usually collects output from dozens of wells connected on the seabed with pipelines.

            Not that anyone even DOES much deep ocean drilling ATM. Because oil is currently too cheap.

          2. sod

            “There’s a reason oil wells don’t get subsidized but wind energy is.”

            That is a joke!

            Mother Jones has a rather funny article about it:


            and in the UK north sea oil just got another taxbreak of nearly 2 billion pounds till 2020.


      2. DirkH

        sod 6. February 2016 at 8:53 AM | Permalink | Reply
        “Yes. And as soon as a fleet of such ships is available, prices will start dropping. ”

        I admire your capability of being ignorant about EVERYTHING. Experience curves are wildly different for different types of products. The experience curve for software is a halfing of the unit price on each doubling of sold units.
        For big heavy material contraptions like SHIPS or SKYSCRAPERS or OFFSHORE WIND TURBINES it is more like no reduction at all.
        You can find out what you lack in knowledge even in the wikipedia under “experience curve”.

        1. sod

          “Experience curves are wildly different for different types of products.”

          As i tried to explain to you above, the “experience curve” in this case is made of solid metal.

          Specialised ships for building and maintaining wind parks simple did not exist in the recent past. Now they do.
          And you do not have to invent and order such a ship to be build, you can just rent the one that build the neighbouring wind park.

          Those wind parks are made of dozens of turbines of identical design. Stuff doesn t get closer to mass production than that!

          Just watch and see.

  15. DirkH

    Another collapse of the German Green sector: Germany has Californian-style hardcore regulations on how you can heat your home. One profiteer was the wood pellet industry, selling ridiculously expensive Rube Goldberg contraptions that try to automate a wood heating. Now, financial regulator BaFin prohibits maker German Pellets from issuing new IOU. Company looks a lot like a Ponzi scheme, offering 5 to 7 percent for loans in the face of ubiquitious ZIRP/NIRP all across the West.

  16. R2Dtoo

    I just wish the Canadian government would pay attention. Trudeau is all in on “renewable” energy and global warming. How many wind and solar disasters do we need before they are declared non-functional industries (using the term loosely). Canada pledged $2.65B to the global climate fund. This week a report came out that our First Nations need $2B just to upgrade their substandard housing. I guess Agriculture Canada will have to GMO some money trees.

  17. posa

    “If that sounds strange, it is so because the market-hostile law is the sort of thing one would find only in old communist regimes.”

    Your ideology is in the way of reality… revenues extorted out of rate payers are not being pocketed by State Socialist agencies… these funds are in the pocket of wealthy, CAPITALIST financiers who have captured government agencies to extract wealth from hapless citizens… ie State Capitalism a/k/a “fascism”…

    1. DirkH

      You surely do realize that Mussolini’s career started in the socialist party.

    2. David Johnson

      You have it backside forward Posa5. The capitalist businesses only exist because of the huge amount of taxpayer funded money available made available by state agencies. So in effect these capitalist businesses are in thrall to the state where their money comes from.

    3. yonason

      So, you oppose so-called “renewables?”
      Good for you!

      But it isn’t a free market any more in the US.


      Probably never really was anywhere else.

      And, yes, politicians are raking in the cash, in large part because of the cronyism.

      America is in trouble, DEEP TROUBLE!

  18. Unreliable Power: Major Technical Failure Sidelines Another Offshore Wind Park…Adding To Exploding Costs – sentinelblog

    […] No Tricks Zone, by P […]

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