BONN (dpa-AFX) - The Federal Network Agency is once again auctioning off the right to construct wind farms in the North Sea. As the agency announced on Friday, the auction is for two tendered areas for which several zero-cent bids were received after the end of the bidding period. As a result, the bidders waived their claims and a so-called dynamic bidding procedure was required for the second time, it was said. The bidder with the highest willingness to pay for an area would be awarded the contract in each case.

Wind turbines with a total output of 2,500 megawatts may be erected on the two sites combined. The wind farms at sea ("offshore") are scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2031. To put this into perspective: according to the energy company EnBW, wind turbines with a total capacity of just under 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.

Head of the grid agency: "Good news for the Energiewende"

"The results of the tender are good news for the energy transition in Germany," said Grid Agency President Klaus Müller. He added that it was pleasing that the companies did not need to request any funding for the expansion of offshore wind energy. "The zero-cent bids make it clear that offshore wind energy is economically attractive."

The first auction of this kind last year was for four areas in the North and Baltic Seas, on which a total of 7,000 megawatts of generation capacity may be built. Two areas each went to the mineral oil companies BP and Total Energies. They are paying a total of 12.6 billion euros for this. These wind farms are scheduled to be commissioned in 2030.

Proceeds will relieve consumers of electricity costs

According to the Federal Network Agency, the proceeds from the auction will primarily be used to reduce electricity costs and, to a lesser extent, to protect marine nature and promote environmentally friendly fishing. "Consumers will be relieved of the costs for offshore connection lines," explained Müller.

The bidding process is due to start on June 17 and will run online with software support. Up to 13 bidding rounds are possible every day. For the larger area (1500 megawatts), bids can be submitted in 45 million euro increments, for the smaller area (1000 megawatts) in 30 million euro increments.

"It is not possible to predict how long the process will take or how high the award values will be," said a spokesperson. It was not initially known which companies submitted the zero-cent bids. There were nine interested parties for the larger site and seven for the smaller one./tob/DP/stw