Borkum Offshore Wind Farm: Trianel Takes Legal Action Against Tennet TSO

Trianel GmbH, a joint venture of municipal and regional utilitities, announced that it brought legal action against Tennet TSO GmbH, because of delays concerning the connection of the offshore wind park Borkum allegedly caused by Tennet. The company also called for amendments of a bill recently adopted by the German government that shall help to accelerate the construction and grid connection of offshore wind farms, but generally welcomed it.

1. Legal Action Against Tennet TSO

Tennet TSO GmbH, the grid operator responsible for connecting the Borkum offshore wind farm to the grid, had recently informed Tennet of a third delay, Trianel said. Two delays of two months each had been announced in May and June. Although Tennet was confident in April that a grid connection could be accomplished, delays adding up to 10 months had occured within a period of only five months, Trianel pointed out.

The delays in summer had caused additional costs in the double-digit million range for Trianel and the 33 municipal utilities involved in the project, since the construction of the wind park had to be postphoned, Trianel said, pointing out that the damages caused by the new delay could not yet be specified. Based on the currently applicable law Trianel had therefore brought legal action against Tennet, Trianel informed.

Currently Section 17 para. 2a sent. 1 German Energy Act (EnWG) stipulates that the grid connection has to be established at the time of the technical operability of the offshore wind installations. This can be difficult to prove, and has given rise to questions regarding liability, as grid connection for a number of wind farms is behind schedule.

To speed up the grid connection of offshore wind parks, the government has therefore recently introduced a bill amending the EnWG so that TSOs may under certain conditions pass on compensation payments for grid connection delays and disruptions of power lines that they have to make to wind park operators to the electricity consumers.

2. Trianel Position Regarding Offshore Bill

In a hearing concerning the bill amending the EnWG by the Economics and Technology Committee of the German Bundestag (Parliament) on Monday, Trianel’s managing director Sven Becker critisised two aspects.

Firstly he said the bill would curtail the rights of wind park operators to claim damages for costs caused by the delays for which the TSOs were responsible. In particular operators of wind farms that were presently under construction were discriminated against in his opinion. The EnWG amendment is scheduled to go through parliamentary phase before the end of this year.

Secondly Becker criticised that in order to claim damages the wind farm has to be operational, which pursuant to  Section 17e para. 2 sent. 4 EnWG amendment is the case if not only the foundation has been laid, but also the transformer station has been completely erected. In that case the transformer station needed to be serviced by diesel generators, which was neither practical for ecological nor for economical reasons in autumn and winter, Mr Becker said, calling for an amendment.

Source: Trianel GmBH

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