Sweden's biggest wind power project -- a planned 120 MW for an offshore site at Lillgrund in the Öresund Strait between Sweden and Denmark, inched closer to construction when the country's environmental court concluded a formal hearing into its ecological impact. The project, being developed by Sweden's Eurowind ten kilometres off Malmö, would provide 400 GWh a year, or 25% of the city's electricity needs. A possible ruling from the court was expected before Christmas, says Eurowind's Göran Loman. He is optimistic of a positive outcome. Environmental objections have been voiced by homeowners on the Swedish side of the strait and from fishermen, who fear that excavation work could disrupt fish populations. But only two protesters attended the court's open sessions, says Loman. He stresses that the Swedish Energy Agency, Environmental Protection Agency and National Board of Fisheries have all endorsed the plans. If all goes according to plan, work can start a year from now and the plant would be operational in November 2004. Loman insists that no decision on contractors and suppliers has been taken, despite reports that Enercon is to supply its 1.5 MW turbine. "The turbines could be made by Vestas, Enercon or Nordex. We don't know yet," says Loman. Discussions with potential suppliers will start soon and the turbines will be larger than originally planned, with capacities of 2.5 MW or possibly 3 MW, he adds. "Installing larger turbines is no problem because we have government permission to install 48 turbines. The key condition is that they must be no higher than 100 metres from the foundations," he says.
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