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Germany

Germany

Flack flies over Kriegers Flak -- Two firms in offshore combat

Swedish company Eurowind has accused German-owned developer Sweden Offshore Wind of opportunism after it launched a rival proposal for a major project at Kriegers Flak in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Germany. Eurowind, which is 50% owned by Norwegian shipping, energy and marine services giant Fred Olsen & Co, has been planning a 1000 MW project with 180-220 turbines at the site starting in 2005 or 2006.

Sweden Offshore Wind, owned by German companies Wind Projekt Development (WPD) and Wind-Projekt, has announced it is also bidding for approval to develop the site. The company aims to build 128, 5 MW turbines -- 640 MW total -- enough to provide electricity for about 420,000 homes at an estimated cost of SEK 8 billion (EUR 878 million). Eurowind's Göran Loman accuses Swedish Offshore Wind of plagiarising his company's environmental impact assessment and claims the rival plans pay insufficient heed to concerns about impact on fish stocks and the populations of marine mammals and birds in the area.

Meantime, Eurowind has come under fire from Swedish fishermen, who claim construction of wind turbines at Kriegers Flak would destroy an important spawning and feeding ground for various fish species. The company is currently consulting with local residents and organisations in southern Sweden in an attempt to convince them the plans would have a benign effect.

Swedish Offshore Wind's Achim Berge counters Loman's criticism by accusing Eurowind of copying one of his company's maps in its own documents. He suggests Eurowind is afraid of competition, but insists that local people, consumers and government authorities will all benefit. The company stresses that environmental impact issues in the area are poorly documented. "A number of potential problems have been identified and we have decided there is a need for further research," says Berge. Swedish Offshore Wind published its prospectus early last month and is planning to hold public consultations in the first half of 2003, with a view to gaining planning approval in spring 2004.

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