Ostwind International, the French subsidiary of German wind farm developer Ostwind, has received permission to install 140 MW of wind power in northern France. While much smaller than the 234 MW previously proposed (Windpower Monthly, March 2003), the development, if completed, will far outstrip anything else in France. The biggest wind plant to date have a generating capacity of no more than 20 MW, while the country's total installed capacity is only 250 MW. To benefit from the fixed power purchase price, which is limited to projects under 12 MW in France, the 70 Repower 2 MW turbines will be divided into an estimated 16 projects of between 4 MW and 10 MW each. They will be spread over an area roughly 20 by ten kilometres centred around Fruges in the Pas-de-Calais department. Repower will erect and maintain the turbines, while Ostwind International will develop and operate the site on behalf of the mainly French investors. Construction is expected to start in 2005, with completion scheduled for late 2006. Kayser Fabien of Ostwind International says the company spent more than two years winning over local opinion. One particularly decisive argument was job creation. He estimates that Ostwind will employ ten technicians and engineers on a permanent basis at its Fruges operations centre, while Repower expects to hire up to 15 maintenance staff to handle this and other projects in the region. Around 40 temporary workers will also be required during the construction stage.
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