The Netherlands have recently opened a massive offshore wind farm in the North Sea.
Comprising 150 wind turbines situated some 85 km (53 miles) north of the Dutch city of Groningen, Gemini wind park has a 600 MW generating capacity and is thought to be one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms.
Gemini covers a total area of 68 square km (26.3 square miles) and is located in a stretch of ocean that has some of the North Sea’s strongest and most constant wind speeds, averaging some 36 km (22.4 miles) per hour.
The Gemini offshore wind farm has 150 wind turbines located in two 34 square km areas next to each other in the North Sea. Image: Gemini
Matthias Haag, Managing Director of Gemini, says: “Now fully operational, Gemini will produce 2.6 TWh of sustainable energy every year, reducing the Netherlands’ CO2 emissions by 1.25 million tons.”
Such a reduction in emissions is the equivalent of cutting the CO2 output of 50,000 cars each completing 25,000 km (15,534 miles) a year.
The wind park actually comprises 2 wind farms, each having 75 turbines. They are located near each other (hence Gemini, or twins), and cover an area of 34 square km each.
The plan is that, over the next 15 years, Gemini will meet the energy demands of 1.5 million consumers.
World’s largest financing package for an offshore wind farm
The financing package for the project is thought to be the largest for an offshore wind farm, amounting to a total investment of €2.8bn (US$3bn) for the construction alone. Altogether, 25 Asian, North American, European, and Australian banks were involved.
Gemini is owned by the four companies who brought together their expertise to realize the project. The majority stakeholder (with a 60 percent interest) is Northland Power, an independent Canadian renewable energy company.
The other three stakeholders are: Siemens Wind Power, the wind turbine manufacturer (20 percent); the waste processing company HVC (10 percent); and Dutch contractors Van Oord (10 percent), who specialize in offshore projects.
The project is expected to create a total of 75-100 maintenance and administrative jobs in Eemshaven, a seaport in the municipality of Groningen.
Significant contribution to renewable energy goals
Thanks to the scale of the project, the much-reduced costs of building wind farms, and improved efficiencies of the technology, Gemini’s owners anticipate that it will lead to a significant reduction in the price of this source of renewable energy.
They also expect the offshore wind farm to make a significant contribution to meeting the Netherlands’ renewable energy targets. The Dutch government have pledged to raise the country’s share of renewable energy to 16 percent by 2023.
The electricity from the 150 Siemens wind turbines is collected by two offshore, high voltage substations.
It is then conveyed to the land station in Eemshaven via two 110-kilometre cables that are buried up to 12 metres below the seabed.
On land, the electricity is then converted at a transformer substation to a higher voltage and conveyed by cable to Oude Schild, where it joins the national grid.
Video – The building of Gemini
The following animation from Gemini explains the building of the offshore wind farm.