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Germany

Germany

Vast wind plant for northern Sweden -- Deal for up to 4 GW

A co-operation deal to develop and construct the largest land-based wind power station in the world in the far north of Sweden has been agreed between Germany's Enercon, the world's fourth largest wind turbine supplier, and the project's developer, Markbygden Vind, owned by small private company Svevind Holding. At 3.5 GW, the Markbygden wind power station is planned for construction on forest land in the district of Pitea.

The first two turbines in an initial pilot project of 12 Enercon machines will be installed at Markbygden later this year. The project is to consist of at least 1300 machines, says Svevind, with the Enercon 2 MW turbine the chosen technology. Enercon's new 6 MW turbine, the first commercial units of which are being installed in Belgium this year and next (Windpower Monthly, May 2008), is also under consideration.

Privately owned Enercon took a 25% in stake Markbygden Vind in May, according to Wolfgang Kropp, the majority owner of Svevind Holding through his German company, Svevind Energy. Kropp, who says the Markbygden project could be built out to 4 GW, says he has been active in German wind energy since 1993 and has been considering developing projects in Sweden since 2002. Wind speeds in the Markbygden area, measured in a co-operation with Sweden's Uppsala University, are 7 m/s at a height of 100 metres, he says. Kropp rules out development of large wind plant closer to centres of population in the south of Sweden because of the prevalence of farms and holiday homes.

Svevind Holding's Mikael Kyrk says the huge project will be built in stages. Only the pilot stage at Dragaliden has a building permit so far, but according to Kyrk the Swedish government is supporting the full development of Markbygden, completion of which is scheduled for 2020. He expects up to 20 turbines to be erected at the site in 2009 and another 50 in 2011. Svevind Holding, which Kyrk also has a stake in, is based in Tavelsjo, northern Sweden.

Enercon is planning to establish a factory in the Markbygden region for the production of concrete towers for the wind turbines, creating 150-200 new jobs in the process. A service centre will also be set up. Kropp puts the total cost of the development at EUR 5.5 to EUR 6 billion. "If the project quality is good enough, then you can find investors," he says.

Power from the project will be sent to southern Sweden using the same transmission lines used by hydro power generators in the north of the country. Kropp points out that wind and hydro are a good match for one another, with wind producing well during the winter months when hydro resources are frozen, or rain falls as snow. Three transmission cables pass through the 450 square kilometre site earmarked for the wind plant.

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