In the first of two German auction rounds, the Bundesnetzagentur (Germany’s Federal Network Agency) awarded DONG Energy the right to build three offshore wind projects in the German North Sea.
DONG Energy submitted six projects in the bid and won with the following three projects which have a total capacity of 590 MW: OWP West (240 MW), Borkum Riffgrund West 2 (240 MW), and Gode Wind 3 (110 MW).
The three projects are planned to be commissioned in 2024, subject to final investment decision by DONG Energy in 2021.
“We’re pleased with being awarded three projects in the first of two German auction rounds, and we have good opportunities to add further capacity to our winning projects in next year’s German auction,” says Samuel Leupold, executive VP and CEO of Wind Power at DONG Energy. “Today’s results contribute to our ambition of driving profitable growth by adding approximately 5 GW of additional capacity by 2025.”
For two of the projects – OWP West and Borkum Riffgrund West 2 – DONG Energy made bids at zero EUR per MWh, i.e. these projects will not receive a subsidy on top of the wholesale electricity price. The Gode Wind 3 project was awarded based on a bid price of EUR 60 per MWh.
“The zero subsidy bid is a breakthrough for the cost competitiveness of offshore wind, and it demonstrates the technology's massive global growth potential as a cornerstone in the economically viable shift to green energy systems. Cheaper clean energy will benefit governments and consumers – and not least help meet the Paris COP21 targets to fight climate change. Still it’s important to note that the zero bid is enabled by a number of circumstances in this auction. Most notably, the realization window is extended to 2024. This allows developers to apply the next generation turbine technology, which will support a major step down in costs. Also, the bid reflects the fact that grid connection is not included,” says Leupold.
“Financial discipline is key to us. We are of course reflecting the project’s exposure to market risk in the cost of capital applied. We see a solid value creation potential in this German project portfolio and will now begin to further mature the projects towards a Final Investment Decision (FID) in 2021,” says Leupold.
DONG Energy will be responsible for the turbines, array cables and offshore substation, while grid operator TenneT will be responsible for construction, operation and ownership of the onshore substation and the export cable.
DONG Energy currently has 902 MW of offshore wind in operation in German waters with Gode Wind 1&2 and Borkum Riffgrund 1 and another 450 MW under construction at Borkum Riffgrund 2, which is expected to be commissioned in 2019. In total, DONG Energy operates 3600 MW offshore wind capacity across Germany, UK and Denmark and has a further 3800 GW under construction.
Cost-drivers enabling the zero subsidy bid
The above drivers deliver a cost-of-electricity below our forecasted wholesale power price and will allow us to create value and meet our return requirements at the expected market prices without subsidies. Compared to German power price forecasts available from leading research firms, we consider our price forecast to be relatively conservative. We have applied a higher cost-of-capital than in previous projects to reflect the potential increase in market price exposure.
The cost reductions required for a German project without subsidies are fully feasible, both technically and commercially. Towards a final investment decision in 2021, DONG Energy will monitor the key factors which will determine long-term power prices in Germany. These factors include the impact of EU actions to reinvigorate the European carbon trading scheme; the phase-out of conventional and nuclear capacity; the future role of coal in Europe; and the build-out of onshore transmission grids.
The information provided in this announcement does not change DONG Energy’s previous financial guidance for the financial year of 2017 or the announced expected investment level for 2017.