A bid to install Germany's first offshore wind farm, dubbed Sky 2000, is being made by a company calling itself 1.SHOW-VG, an acronym for First Schleswig-Holsteinische Offshore Windpark Verwaltung set up by Nordic Wind Power of Klixbüll. The company optimistically expects Sky 2000 to be running by 1997.

The seeds for the project were sown after a report on the enormous potential of offshore wind energy by British consultants Garrad Hassan and German classification society Germanischer Lloyd, presented at the 1993 Husum wind energy fair in Germany. Soon after, Werner Schweizer and Norbert Wippich of Windtechnik-Nord in Stedesand, together with four other partners, founded Nordic Wind Power for the purpose of developing offshore wind stations. Since then Nordic claims it has looked at several possible sites, both in the North Sea and the Baltic. The Schleswig-Holstein government, however, has firmly encouraged the company to focus on the Baltic in order to avoid conflicts with environmentalists defending the Wattenmeer nature reserve running along most of the North Sea coast.

The licensing procedure for the wind station, which according to Nordic's somewhat grandiose plans would feed into the Schleswag grid, is in progress and an application to the European Commission for a subsidy from its Thermie energy programme has been made, so far unsuccessfully. The plan is to erect 15, 1 MW turbines for a total cost of DEM 10 million. Nordic originally planned to install ten Nedwind machines from Holland, but now says it will install five further units, one each from German companies Autoflug and Husumer Schiffswerft and three more from Nedwind. Nordic is also hoping for support from the German Research Ministry's 250 MW programme which expires at the end of this year.

Assuming all goes well -- a considerable assumption considering the small size of the development company and the huge size of the project -- the offshore wind station may be expanded in one or two phases to comprise as many as 65 turbines. The demonstration project is to be accompanied by an economic analysis programme seeking ways to optimise all procedures.

A major question mark hanging over the project is whether or not it qualifies for inclusion under the Electricity Feed Law (EFL). The law requires utilities to buy all power from renewables plant in their area, but utilities point out that 12 miles offshore is in nobody's area. Nordic is pinning its hopes on an early answer from the energy law department of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs, says Norbert Wippich.