Alpha Ventus Offshore Wind Farm
Aerial view of Alpha Ventus wind park (may 2012)
|Location||North Sea, ~44 km (27 mi) northwest of Borkum|
|Units operational||6 × AREVA Multibrid M5000
6 × REpower 5M
|Make and model||Areva
|Nameplate capacity||60 MW|
|Capacity factor||50 - 55% (2011 & 2012)|
The application for construction of the wind farm near Borkum was submitted in 1999. The permit was given by the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency in 2001. In 2007, contracts for supplying wind turbines were signed with REpower and Areva. That same year, a contract for the construction of a subsea cable connection to the German grid was signed. Construction of the alpha ventus substation started in July 2008. On July 15, 2009, the first wind turbine was installed and the first six turbines delivered by Areva went operational in August 2009. Installation of another six turbines delivered by REpower started in September 2009. Construction of the wind farm was completed on November 16, 2009 after a seven month construction period. On April 27, 2010 the farm was officially opened and set into commercial operation.
The wind farm is owned by Deutsche Offshore-Testfeld und Infrastruktur-GmbH & Co. KG, a joint venture of EWE (47.5%), E.ON (26.25%), and Vattenfall (26.25%). It consist of twelve turbines of which six turbines are 5 megawatt (MW) Areva Multibrid (M5000) and six turbines are REpower 5M. Turbines stand in 30 m of water and are not visible from land. The REpower turbines are installed onto jacket foundations (OWEC Jacket Quattropods) by the crane ship Thialf and Areva turbines are installed onto tripod-style foundations by the jack-up barge Odin. In May 2010 two Areva Multibrid, generators went off service due severe overheating in their gearboxes. There is a pressure to Areva to replace all six turbines.
In 2011, the wind farm had the highest registered capacity factor of 50.8% of most European offshore wind farms. This was exceeded in 2012 with a capacity factor of 55%, a global record. The project team noted that the expected capacity factor of 42% was a considerable underestimation. 
Because it is the first offshore wind farm in Germany, alpha ventus is accompanied by several research projects sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Environment (BMU). In 2003, the research platform FINO 1 was built approximately 400 m to the west of the wind farm. Research interests include:
- investigation of the flow conditions in the wind farm
- measurement of wind and wave load
- further development and adaptation of wind turbine components to offshore conditions
- accompanying ecological research
- development of new wind farm control systems
- logistic problems and the grid integration of offshore wind farms
- Power curve test methodology
- Investigation of wind turbine wakes
- Assessment of the wind turbine induction zone
Media related to Alpha ventus at Wikimedia Commons
- The foundations for the Areva turbines were so called tripods designed by OWT. The foundations for the REpower turbines were developed and designed by OWEC Tower. Stromsta, Karl-Erik (2009-09-30). "First REpower turbine goes up at Germany's 60MW Alpha Ventus". ReCharge (NHST Media Group). (subscription required). Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
- "Start-up celebration for offshore test field alpha ventus". Your Industry News. April 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
- "DOTI: the future of wind energy". EWE AG. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
- "Germany completes construction of first offshore wind farm". Monsters and Critics.com, WotR Ltd. Deutsche Presse Agentur. November 16, 2009. Archived from the original on 19 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
- "Areva under pressure as M5000 turbines malfunction". ReCharge (NHST Media Group). 2010-06-25. (subscription required). Archived from the original on 29 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
- "Germany goes offshore: EWE, E.ON and Vattenfall have constructed the first wind turbine for alpha ventus" (Press release). alpha ventus. July 15, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
- "First German offshore wind farm online". Wind Daily. August 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
- "Capacity factor by commissioned sites". Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- "A Neighbour for the FINO 1 Research Platform" (PDF). DEWI Magazin. DEWI. August 31, 2007. Retrieved 2010-01-06.
- Clive, P. J. M., et al., Offshore power curve tests for onshore costs: a real world case study European Wind Energy Association Annual Conference, 2014. Retrieved: 9 May 2014.
- Gallacher, D., and More, G., Lidar measurements and visualisation of turbulence and wake decay length European Wind Energy Association Annual Conference, 2014. Retrieved: 9 May 2014.
- Asimakopoulos, M., Clive, P. J. M., More, G., and Boddington, R., Offshore compression zone measurement and visualisation European Wind Energy Association Annual Conference, 2014. Retrieved: 9 May 2014.