BONN (dpa-AFX) - The Federal Network Agency has auctioned off the rights for the construction of two wind farms in the North Sea for around three billion euros. The auction concerns two areas about 120 kilometers northwest of Helgoland, one with a capacity of 1500 megawatts and the other with 1000 megawatts, as the federal authority announced in Bonn on Friday. Offshore Wind One GmbH was awarded the contract for one area for 1.96 billion euros and a project company of the energy group EnBW for 1.07 billion euros for the other. The companies can now apply for planning permission to erect and operate wind turbines and feed the electricity into the German grid. The wind farms are scheduled to go into operation in 2031.

For EnBW CEO Georg Stamatelopoulos, the auction win is an "important milestone in the restructuring of our generation portfolio". EnBW plans to sell most of the electricity produced by the offshore wind farm in the future to industrial customers via power purchase agreements. According to the information provided, it should cover the electricity requirements of 1.35 million households.

The bidding consortium Offshore Wind One GmbH also included the energy group RWE, but the company has reportedly left the consortium at short notice. "Totalenergies will realize the project on its own," said an RWE spokeswoman. TotalEnergies is a French group that sells oil, gas and other energy products and operates charging points for electric cars.

This is only the second time that companies in Germany have paid money for offshore wind rights - it used to be customary for the state to demand them, i.e. to receive money for them. Later, companies waived this requirement, but did not pay any money either. Demand increased. Last year, the grid agency held an auction for the first time, which brought in 12.6 billion euros. 90 percent of the auction proceeds were used to reduce electricity costs, while five percent each went towards marine nature conservation and environmentally friendly fishing.

At the time, the aim was to increase capacity, namely 7000 megawatts across three areas. Now it is 2500 megawatts on two areas. To put this into perspective: according to the energy company EnBW, wind turbines with a total capacity of almost 8,500 megawatts were installed in the North Sea and Baltic Sea at the end of 2023. According to the German government, this figure is set to rise to 30,000 megawatts by 2030. "The results show the attractiveness of investing in offshore wind energy in Germany," said the head of the Federal Network Agency Klaus Müller on Friday. "They are another important step towards achieving the offshore expansion targets."/wdw/DP/ngu