Photo Gallery Germany's Troubled Offshore Wind Offensive

Germany dreams of peppering its northern seas with offshore wind turbines. But strict laws, technology problems and multiple delays are turning the massive enterprise into an expensive fiasco. Can the obstacles be overcome before investors and the public lose patience?
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In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Gremany announced an energy revolutions, which aims to boost renewable energy to 35 percent of total power consumption in Germany by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050 while phasing out all of Germany's nuclear power reactors by 2022. Plans call for having offshore wind farms play a massive role in this effort.

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This map shows the wind farm projects planned or under construction in the German Bight, the North Sea region outlined by parts of Germany and the Netherlands to the south and parts of Germany and Denmark to the east. Plans call for them to have a total energy output of 10,000 megawatts, the equivalent of 10 nuclear power plants. But this is only the beginning. But 2030, Germany expects to be producing 25,000 megawatts at its offshore wind farms.

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The man tasked with leading this offensive is German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier (left) seen with wind-energy executives. But technical and logistical challenges have significantly stalled the effort.

Foto: Ingo Wagner/ dpa
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Germany requires wind farms to be built much further from the coastlines than other countries do, which poses a number of technical challenges. This illustration explains how energy will make its way from wind turbines to the power grid. At the moment, obstacles still remain along this path, and the energy being generated by wind turbines isn't making its way to the grid.

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The "Borwin alpha" is a high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) converter station. The goliath was supposed to be working by now, taking up energy from the "Bard 1" turbine field. But because of construction delays at the troubled wind farm, there is not electricity available to test the Borwin alpha. In fact, no one knows whether it actually works.

Foto: dapd
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