Management of the sea
The sea is traditionally used by bathers, shipping and fishing. Numerous other economic and scientific uses have been added in recent years.
Shipping, the navy, fishing, tourism, offshore wind farms, offshore activities and marine research take up space on the oceans. Competing interests can lead to conflicts, for example over sand and gravel extraction, military exercises, the laying of pipelines or claims for the use of offshore wind turbines.
In order to avoid possible conflicts arising from different interests, the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) is tasked with developing maritime spatial development plans for the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the North Sea and Baltic Sea. The BSH is responsible for planning the sustainable development of the ocean region. This includes allowing economic uses where they do not conflict with nature conservation and environmental protection and thus creating a balance between uses and the protection of the sea while ensuring the safety and ease of navigation. Environmental protection and nature conservation play a central role in this.
Testing, approval and monitoring
Since 1997, the BSH has been responsible for the testing, approval and monitoring of wind turbines and structures in the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
With the approval of the first offshore wind farm "alpha ventus" (2001), the BSH is continuously involved in implementing the transformation of the energy system. Due to climate and energy policy requirements of the Federal Government, the capacities of offshore wind energy have been expanded. By the end of 2017, the BSH had approved 34 wind farms with over 2,200 wind turbines and 9 converter platforms. Over 1,000 wind turbines are now in operation in the North Sea and Baltic Sea, some 35 km from the coast, founded in around 40 m deep water and exposed to the harsh conditions of the open sea.
In an international comparison, Germany is thus a pioneer, especially with regard to the distances and sea depths at which wind farms are erected.