RAVE – Research on the German offshore test field, alpha ventus
The use of offshore wind energy in Germany officially started in April 2010 with the commissioning of twelve wind turbines at the alpha ventus test field. The wind farm is being scientifically supported by the “RAVE – research at alpha ventus” research initiative. This project encompasses more than 40 research institutes, companies and agencies that are conducting basic scientific research and are working on optimising the system technology. The new BINE-Themeninfo brochure “RAVE – Research on the offshore test field” (I/2012) provides an overview of the initiative and presents the initial findings relating to the system technology, basic and ecological support research and grid integration.
The offshore application area poses considerable challenges for the system technology. The turbines have to be specially adapted in order to withstand the severe storms, the interaction between the wind and wave energy, and also the salty atmosphere. Ocean-based wind farms nevertheless offer interesting prospects because the wind speeds are greater there than on land. In order to ensure the necessary security in this new sector, reliable technological and scientific long-term data are required. In addition, the wind farms have to be compatible with the marine ecosystem. A further aim is to properly integrate the generated wind power into the electricity grid and to transport it to the main load areas in the south with minimum losses. The social acceptance is also being investigated. These are all issues focussed on by the RAVE research initiative.
Dozens of large-scale wind farms will be erected in the German North and Baltic seas during the next few years. In comparison with our European neighbours, these wind farms are located further from the coast and in deeper water. The BINE-Themeninfo brochure “RAVE – Research on the offshore test field” (I/2012), which can be obtained free of charge from the BINE Information Service at FIZ Karlsruhe, is available online at www.bine.info or by calling +49 228 92379-0.