German utility E.ON has installed the first foundation for turbines at the Amrumbank West wind farm, which will spread across 2.5 square miles in the North Sea.
Installed at the deep water site, 37km north-west of the island of Helgoland, the entire foundation structure weighs about 900 metric tons and features the monopile and the transition piece.
The 288MW project, which is claimed to be E.ON's first commercial wind project in Germany, will feature 80 Siemens wind turbines, each with a capacity of 3.6MW.
E.ON has engaged the turbine installation vessel MPI Discovery for several years for its Amrumbank West and other offshore projects.
The wind turbines will be installed over an area of 32sq km at a water depth of around 25m, while Helgoland will serve as the service base.
Once operational in 2015, the €1bn project will generate 720GWh of clean energy a year, which is enough to power around 300,000 households and curb cut 740,000t of carbon emissions annually.
The project will supply its output to the HelWin2 offshore converter station, which is being built by grid operator TenneT and supplied by Siemens.
In December 2011, Siemens Energy was awarded a contract by Amrumbank West, a subsidiary of E.ON, to deliver, install and commission the wind turbines for the project as well as provide maintenance of the turbines for the first five years.
E.ON Climate & Renewables CEO Eckhardt Rummler said the company is drawing on all the expertise it has gathered from its offshore facilities in the UK and Scandinavia and from the construction and operation of alpha ventus in Germany.
"Offshore wind is on the road to becoming a reliable and cost-effective source of electricity. Amrumbank West will help take us significantly closer to this goal," said Rummler.
Image: Amrumbank West wind farm will feature 80 Siemens turbines. Photo: courtesy of Siemens.