Amprion connects wind farms in the North Sea to the transmission grid with the offshore grid connection system BorWin4. The wind farms are located in the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and therefore fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH). In spring 2021, Amprion submitted the approval documents to the federal authority for a completeness check. The subjects of the documents are the BorWin delta converter platform and the approximately 90-kilometre-long submarine cable system north of the 12-nautical-miles zone. Special consideration is given to the compatibility of the project with the safety of shipping and air traffic and the protection of the marine environment. Now that the BSH has confirmed the completeness of the documents, the planning approval process and the formal participation of the public, authorities and other public interest groups begin. Amprion already awarded the main contracts in the EEZ last year: Siemens Energy and Dragados Offshore will supply the converter platform, Prysmian Powerlink the submarine cables.
Multi-stage approval process afterwards
Amprion expects to receive feedback from the participation procedure in the next few weeks. The subsequent review by the BSH will also include a weighing of interests. The aim is to obtain the planning approval by the beginning of 2024 at the latest. Compared to the other approval sections, the EEZ has a special feature: after the decision, there is still an enforcement procedure with a multi-stage approval procedure. Amprion must take the ancillary provisions stipulated in the planning approval decision into account in the technical implementation and provide evidence of this. "The start of the planning approval procedure is enormously important for us. We want to put BorWin4 into operation as early as 2028 - one year earlier than originally planned. In this way, we are Page 2 of 2 making an important contribution to achieving the acceleration targets of the federal government," says project manager Mario Bechmann.
The offshore grid connection systems DolWin4 and BorWin4
The DolWin4 and BorWin4 offshore grid connection systems, which run largely in parallel, are among the most important energy transition projects in Germany. They are scheduled to go into operation in 2028. The cables will initially run 60 and 125 kilometres at sea from the North Sea wind farms. They cross under the island of Norderney and reach the coast in the Hilgenriedersiel area. From there they will run for another 155 kilometres as underground cables towards the Hanekenfähr substation in Lingen (Ems), where Amprion will connect them to its transmission grid. The Emsland nuclear power plant will soon be taken off the grid there. DolWin4 and BorWin4 will ensure that the lost generation capacity is replaced by 1.8 GW of offshore wind energy.