Borkum Riffgrund 1 tested for balancing German grid

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 20/05/2022 Ørsted

Since May 2022, Ørsted's
Borkum Riffgrund 1 offshore wind farm has been providing system stabilising balancing power for the German power grid. 

Energy2market and Ørsted have worked together on the implementation of using the electricity from Borkum Riffgrund 1 as balancing energy for the German electricity grid. The prequalification specified by the transmission system operator TenneT was granted and the offshore wind farm has shown that short-term grid fluctuations can be compensated for with renewable electricity from offshore wind energy.

In addition to TenneT, the Energy2market prequalification concept on which the project is based was also able to convince the other three German transmission system operators and was approved for all four control areas. Offshore wind power is breaking new ground with Borkum Riffgrund 1, the first German wind farm ever to be approved for the provision of particularly demanding secondary control power.

As a reserve, control power helps equalise the fluctuations in the power grid, ie the power grid frequency. The use of balancing energy can compensate for these fluctuations and thus ensure that there is still a balance between generation and consumption. Electricity can be fed into the grid or taken from the grid.

In addition to the speed of provision, the stability of the service provided is also decisive for control reserve. A solution tested with
Borkum Riffgrund 1 was the continual adjustment of its so-called operating point. The control power provided is determined on the basis of this. For the power frequency controller in TenneT's control room, the wind farm therefore looks like a completely normal conventional power plant. In addition, Energy2market plans exactly how much power is to be marketed for the next day. If the weather forecasts are inaccurate, a little less service is offered, which can then be provided safely.

Jörg Kubitza, Managing Director of Ørsted in Germany, said: “Offshore wind power is in no way inferior to power from conventional power plants. The power plants at sea not only produce far more electricity than any other renewable energy source. The technology is also competitive in terms of cost. And now offshore wind power is also conquering the area that was previously reserved for conventional energy sources: the stabilization of the power grid. Therefore, offshore wind power is part of the foundation of the energy transition in Germany, because it contributes to security of supply on many levels”.  

"I'm always particularly pleased when we succeed in opening up new, attractive business areas for our customers and partners and at the same time making a sustainable contribution to the success of the energy transition. That is clearly the case with Borkum Riffgrund 1,” said Raphael Hirtz, Managing Director of Energy2market. “The integration via our virtual power plant in the German balancing energy market enables Ørsted to market the potential of the offshore wind farm in a system-friendly manner. In addition, it is also a milestone in the energy transition. Borkum Riffgrund 1 shows the ability of renewables to largely compensate for the reduced flexible output in the overall system caused by the phase-out of coal and nuclear power generation.”

TenneT COO Tim Meyerjürgens commented: “Together with the other transmission system operators, TenneT has worked intensively on revising the prequalification conditions with the aim of winning over wind farms to provide control reserve. This is now possible and thus represents an important step for the integration of wind turbines into the balancing power market. I would like to thank Ørsted and Energy2market for pioneering with us and am confident that the prequalification of the first offshore wind farm will also motivate other market participants to take this step so that more and more balancing power from wind turbines can be traded successfully on the German balancing power market in the future."