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Austria

Austria

STARTING AT BOTH ENDS OF THE SIZE SCALE

Austria's largest utility has agreed to back a venture to build a 1.2 MW wind turbine, a project initiated by long time wind industry member Gerald Hehenberger. He was a member of the team that developed the Austrian Floda wind turbine, now redesigned and being built and marketed by Markham in the UK. The article details the new machine and plans for it. Aside from this initiative, Austrian turbine manufacturers are few and far between with three companies developing small turbines.

Austria's largest utility, Verbund, based in Vienna, has put its declared commitment to wind into practice. It has agreed to back a venture to build a 1.2 MW wind turbine, a project initiated by long time wind industry member, Gerald Hehenberger. Hehenberger was a member of the team that developed the Austrian Floda wind turbine, now redesigned and being built and marketed by Markham in the UK.

Verbund and Hehenberger set up a wind turbine manufacturing company named Windtec in Kärnteno in January. Managing director Hehenberger owns over 50% of the company with Verbund and an electricity distributor, Bürgenland Bewag, owning the remaining shares. Windtec's 1.2 MW prototype is expected to be operating at the end of 1996, with series production beginning in mid 1997. The company has applied for support under the European Union's Joule programme. The 1.2 MW design will incorporate its own erection system so it can be put up anywhere without the use of a crane.

According to Hehenberger the turbine is being designed with the relatively low Austrian wind speeds in mind -- 5.5-6.3 m/s at 50 metres. The machine will have a standard hub height of 60 metres, blade diameter of 62 metres, three blades with 10-22 revolutions per minute, pitch control, and a start up speed of 3.5 m/s, reaching nominal capacity at 11.5 m/s.

In the meantime, the company will erect a three bladed variable speed 600 kW prototype in Zurndorf at the beginning of 1996 and will start series production in the second quarter of 1996. This machine, to cost ATS 7-7.5 million, will have standard hub heights of 41-53 metres and rotor diameter of 46 metres. The three blades with pitch control will rotate at between 15 and 33 revolutions per minute. Start up wind speed and nominal capacity wind speed will be the same as for the 1.2 MW model.

Windtec is already looking at projects with the 600 kW machine in Germany, France and Austria. The firm also expects to benefit from its indirect link with the Verbund planning sector, Verbundplan. This company, with its pool of 600 engineers, plans and builds turnkey thermal and hydro power stations all around the world, including a 700 MW hydro project currently underway in Turkey. Hehenberger anticipates that once the Windtec turbines are tried and tested, Windplan will start to offer and bid for wind power projects around the world using these machines.

Other Austrian turbine manufacturers seem to be as yet few and far between. Engineer Leo Hollmann of Vienna has developed and tested a 15 kW machine, the Aerowerk, and is seeking a co-operation partner. Heinisch GmbH, another small company also based in Vienna, produces turbines rated between 60 W and 5 kW. And a wind energy consultancy company, Goldene Flugel, again in Vienna, is weighing up the idea of launching into wind turbine production. However, with so many relatively mature companies from Germany and elsewhere anxious to enter the Austrian market, the competition facing a new turbine firm will be hard.

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