Germany's first commercial offshore wind power park was inaugurated on Monday in the Baltic Sea in a further step to boost renewable energy in the overall electricity grid.
Reuters said Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed the button to start up the 21 wind power generators at the Baltic 1 wind farm, 16 km offshore from the Fischland-Darss-Zingst peninsula.
The operator of the park, with an installed capacity of 50 MW, is the Karlsruhe-based utility Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg (EnBW) in what is Germany's first purely commercial offshore wind farm project.
A year ago, the offshore wind farm 'Alpha Ventus' consisting of 12 wind generators was started up in the North Sea in a test project underwritten by the German government. EnBW says the Baltic 1 park can cover the electricity needs of 50 000 households.
The company is now moving towards building a second Baltic Sea wind farm of 80 wind generators offshore from the island of Ruegen. The facility is to be started up in 2013 and would cover the electricity needs of 340,000 households.
EnBW executives put the investment cost of the two offshore projects at EUR1.2bn ($1.7bn).
The German federal office for marine shipping BSH in Rostock said that so far, permission has been granted for 23 offshore wind farms in the North Sea with a total installed capacity of 7650 MW and three in the Baltic Sea with total capacity of 1040 MW. At the same time, the BSH has received applications for a further 56 North Sea wind farms and 15 in the Baltic Sea.