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48-MW Offshore Wind Farm Completed in Germany

Construction of Germany's newest offshore wind park has recently been completed. The 21 wind turbines that make up the 48-MW Baltic 1 wind farm are now installed and set to enter the commissioning phase, the final step before energy production can begin.

This is the beginning of a new phase for Germany's wind market.

Germany needs to move offshore if it wants to continue adding large amounts of wind capacity. In 2009, companies were able to put about 1,720 MW of new capacity onshore. But with over 21,000 turbines installed across the country, there isn't much room left on land.

Companies are often deciding between two choices: Trade out older turbines for new ones (known as re-powering projects), or build in the water.

With feed-in tariffs and loan guarantees to help them out, companies are creating an offshore gold rush in the country. The German government wants to develop 10 GW of offshore wind in the North Sea and Baltic Sea by 2020 and 25 GW by 2030.

After last year's completion of Germany's first deepwater offshore wind farm, alpha ventus, several new projects are underway. BARD Offshore 1, another wind farm with 80 five megawatt turbines, is currently under construction 100 km off the North Sea coast. More than 30 wind parks have already received formal approval.

According to HSBC, the global offshore market is predicted to grow at approximately 29 percent between 2009 and 2020, with Germany set to be a major contributor. Already Europe's top wind energy generator with market growth of 15 percent in 2009, Germany's offshore segment is looking to be a growth driver for the coming years.

Below is a fantastic video from the Deutsche Welle news network, profiling the growing offshore wind industry in Germany.

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