December 7 - Offshore construction ship RWE Innogy has awarded Korean shipyard Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd, (DSME) a contract to build a specialist ship for the construction of offshore wind farms.

The contract also includes the option for two further identical construction ships. The value of the contract for each ship is around EUR100 million (USD148 million). The first ship should be completed in 2011. 

Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, Chairman of the Board of Directors of RWE Innogy GmbH: "The building of our own construction ships will overcome one of the most important supply bottlenecks we face in the construction of wind farms at sea. These ships will give us a decisive time and cost advantage in the North Sea and further afield in implementing our ambitious plans to expand wind energy." 

The ships ordered by RWE Innogy are the first of their type in the world. They are able to transport and install the largest available offshore wind turbines including foundations. With a length of 109 m and a width of 40 m, the ships can simultaneously transport and install up to four turbines in the multi-megawatt class. Featuring satellite control, these ships can be fixed with centimetre-precision for construction work at sea and operate in water depths of more than 40 m. 

"The construction ships of this special design are ideally suited to the construction of marine wind power plants. Unlike the vessels which were previously used, they are able to successfully install the largest wind turbines currently available in the 5 and 6 MW class even under the harsh conditions which are often encountered offshore," underlines Prof. Martin Skiba, Head of Offshore Wind at RWE Innogy. 

The ship capacities commissioned in the course of a worldwide invitation for tender are intended for use in the construction of the offshore wind farms planned by RWE Innogy. The company currently has plans for two wind farms in the German part of the North Sea, namely "North Sea East" (295 megawatt) and "Innogy North Sea 1" (960 megawatt). Of the Welsh coast, RWE Innogy is planning construction of an offshore wind farm to be called "Gwynt y Môr" (576 megawatt). 

Only last week that the company commissioned the "Rhyl Flats" wind farm (90 MW) in Liverpool Bay off the Welsh coast. The company has already been operating the "North Hoyle" offshore wind park (60 MW) there since 2004. RWE Innogy also has a 50 percent share in the "Greater Gabbard" wind farm off the East coast of England. This wind farm is currently under construction and will have a total capacity of more than 500 MW on completion in 2011. Furthermore, RWE Innogy is involved in the construction of the first Belgian offshore wind farm, "Thornton Bank" (300 MW). The first expansion phase of this wind farm is already in commercial operation with an installed output of 30 MW.