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Siemens delays another offshore wind park connection

Germany’s Siemens has had to postpone the link-up of another wind power park off the German North Sea coast, it said on Wednesday, after similar difficulties caused hefty charges and weighed on company profits in 2012.

“The transformer platform for the wind farm Sylwin 1 off the coast of the island of Sylt will be delayed by roughly half a year,” a spokesman said.

Soil tests had surprisingly revealed soft layers which would make a deeper mooring necessary, he said. The platform would now only be connected in the second half of 2013, having been earmarked for first half 2013 start initially.

Three out of four platforms to be built by Siemens are lagging behind initial schedules by up to a year.

Siemens last year had to pay transmission grid firm TenneT 500 million euros ($653.65 million) in lieu for the delays.

The contractual burdens for Siemens in the latest delay should also be limited to that amount, because they have been capped at that sum per case, creating a clear picture of the potential financial damage.

Germany last year removed some legal hurdles for offshore wind parks, approving a law under which liabilities stemming from cable delays would be passed on to consumers via an extra charge, to jump-start the fledgling sector.

This helped TenneT which is responsible for bringing the wind power onshore but could not afford the penalties.

Siemens results for last year are set to be affected by charges booked at its Power Transmission unit in relation to the offshore wind problems.

German offshore wind units are placed further out at sea than those elsewhere in the world because of big natural protection areas and the promise of higher wind yields.

But relevant technologies are untested and it is not clear how equipment will perform over long periods.

($1 = 0.7649 euros) (Reporting by Jens Hack; writing by Vera Eckert; editing by James Jukwey)