Major German Wind Farm Gets First Five-MW Turbine

Wind farm located in North Sea as land-based German wind farm sites are close to saturation

The first of 12 turbines in a major German offshore wind farm project was installed on July 15 in the North Sea, the Alpha Ventus project said.

Following a one-year delay, the five-megawatt turbine was installed 45 kilometers (28 miles) north of the island of Borkum, but all 12 "are scheduled to be in operation by the end of this year," the statement said.

The project, which is to cost 250 million euros (US$350 millio), would lead to the first offshore wind farm in German waters, it added, and eventually produce enough electricity for 50,000 homes.

Companies involved in the project include the German energy giant E.ON, Vattenfall Europe, a subsidiary of the eponymous Swedish power group, and EWE, a service provider in the energy, network and information sectors.

Wilfried Hube of EWE, the project leader, said: "For the first time, wind turbines of this size are being constructed this far offshore in waters up to 30 meters (100 feet) deep."

Land-based German wind farm sites are close to saturation and the country is hoping offshore projects will be viable, expecially since wind is more reliable at sea.

But problems such as resistence to wind and waves along with connections to land-based power grids and maintenance have slowed development of the sector.

Offshore wind farms are nonetheless common now in waters around Britain, Denmark or the Netherlands.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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