RAVE: Research at alpha ventus

At a glance

  • alpha ventus is Germany’s oldest offshore wind farm, having commenced operations in 2010.
  • As a test site, it was an essential component of German research into offshore wind energy use from the word go. Fraunhofer IWES began coordinating the research activities in the “Research at alpha ventus” (RAVE) research initiative in 2007 and will continue to do so until at least 2025.
  • The primary goal in this respect is the networking of ongoing research projects with each other and the participating industry.


The challenge

2010 was a special year for the offshore wind energy sector in Germany: the first wind farm, the alpha ventus test site, commenced operations. The research sector has been strongly involved right from the development stage of the test site and Fraunhofer IWES (formerly ISET) has already been coordinating the scientific activities of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology’s (BMWi’s) “Research at alpha ventus” (RAVE) research initiative since May 2007.

The main research areas have evolved considerably over the years. When the RAVE initiative was first launched, the focus was still on proving the offshore suitability of the 5 MW turbine generation, its further development, and investigating open questions regarding offshore wind energy use and the development of the research potential in Germany. All of these targets have now been achieved. At the same time, a one-of-a-kind, valuable data set has been compiled. The measurement data collected since 2010 have now reached a volume of more than 30 terabytes.


The solution

The shared goal of Fraunhofer IWES and the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany (BSH) in OpenRAVE is to continue expanding the unique and valuable data set of measurements collected at alpha ventus and grant research projects from within and outside RAVE easy access to this data. 


The added value

In the research coordination, Fraunhofer IWES will continue to focus on networking the research projects within and outside the RAVE initiative with each other and with the participating industry and to further increase awareness of RAVE.

More information: https://www.rave-offshore.de/en/start.html

Previous project:
Research at alpha ventus

Funding: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
Duration: 02/2017 – 01/2020


When, in 2009, the go-ahead was given for the construction of the first German offshore wind park for research purpose, “alpha ventus”, 45 km north of the island of Borkum, questions pertaining to the feasibility of offshore wind energy generation far from the coastline and in deep waters, as well as the validation of the then new 5 MW turbine class were in the fore. The RAVE research initiative has accompanied the test field right from the start and linked up the projects associated with the 12 offshore turbines of Adwen and Senvion. Thanks to the great support from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, nearly 40 research projects have been able to contribute to the allocation of know-how.

Today, some 700 offshore wind turbines are in operation in German waters and 3,100 across Europe; their feasibility has long been confirmed. For this reason, the follow-up project which started in February 2017 is primarily focusing on the operation and reliability of the turbines. The main goals are reduction of the levelized cost of energy and riskassessment. Alpha ventus is not only the wind park with the longest operational history in German waters, it also boosts an abundance of measurement equipment: Since 2010, more than 22 terabytes of data have been collected and recorded, which are of great relevance to current questions. The RAVE partners, in the proven configuration, will start new research projects and making use of the test field and its great wealth of data.

In order to encourage research on offshore wind, networking within the RAVE project, but also with other research projects in Germany and with the international research community is pivotal. Cost and risk reduction potential can only be fully exploited on the international stage. As such, communication and the exchange of experiences is an important aspect of this project.  

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