Aug. 24 (UPI) -- German energy company E.ON said Thursday it laid the first of the 60 foundations for a wind farm development in national waters of the Baltic Sea.
The German company said it's deploying the 60 so-called monopiles about 25 miles offshore. Foundations for a common substation were installed last month and the entire project could start generating energy for German consumers by 2019.
Nine countries that share a border with the North Sea -- Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden -- agreed last year to improve infrastructure to support offshore wind. Germany leads among European nations in terms of offshore wind energy growth, though Great Britain has more offshore wind capacity installed.
Germany has one of the more ambitious renewable energy objectives in the European Union. Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks stressed the importance of implementing the multilateral Paris climate deal and said in July that "we intend to further expand our commitment in line with international pledges."
The Arkona wind farm at peak capacity will be able to meet the energy needs of around 400,000 average households from 2019 onwards.
"Compared to conventionally produced electricity, Arkona will save up to 1.2 million tons of CO2 annually," the German company said.
E.ON added it was also introducing new steel foundations for offshore wind farms that have a new coating that prevents corrosion and is therefore more environmentally friendly.
The Arkona project is the result of a joint venture between E.ON and Norwegian energy company Statoil.
"Being partner in Arkona windfarm is in line with Statoil's strategy to gradually complement our oil and gas portfolio with profitable renewable energy and other low-carbon solutions," spokesperson Elin A. Isaksen said in a statement to UPI.
Statoil is one of the top natural gas suppliers to the German economy.