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Infighting between wind plant developers in Germany over choice parcels of wind swept land is on the increase. The country's largest developer, Winkra Project of Hannover, claims a rival developer deliberately tried to scupper one of its projects by encouraging the erection of a single turbine close to a residential area. This would have raised noise levels to a point where Winkra's far larger project would have been impossible to build, claims the company.

The problem arose during the planning of Windpark Utgast, one of two large wind stations that Winkra is proposing for the coast of Ostfriesland in Lower Saxony. Originally 100 turbines were planned for Windpark Utgast, but the number was reduced to 54 after local planning authorities tightened their requirements.

According to Winkra, the authorities applied the screws largely by insisting on a two decibel sound-buffer for a specified area -- a requirement even more stringent than the existing night time noise regulations which are 40dB for a general residential area and 35dB for a purely residential area.

The problem was exacerbated, says Winkra, by the plans of a local person to install a single 80 kW Lagerwey at a site close to the planned wind farm. The motivation behind the single Lagerwey, says Winkra, appears to have been provided by the operators of another group of turbines close by who fear that Winkra's Utgast project will steal their wind. The owner of the Lagerwey is now being paid a substantial sum by Windpark Utgast to turn off the machine at night.

The first Utgast turbines, seven AN Maschinenbau/Bonus 450 kW units, have been in operation since 1994 and will be joined this year by 47 Tacke 600 kW machines. The project is owned by local residents and by Germania Windpark, a Tacke subsidiary. Also in Ostfriesland, Winkra is developing Windpark Wybelsum on land owned by Lower Saxony on the river Ems estuary. It will consist of 40-50 turbines, operated by three companies -- a group of purely local investors, a second wider circle of investors, and the regional electricity utility, EWE, which has decided to take over one- third of the project. The turbines should be in the ground by summer 1996.

Winkra operates 4.3 MW of wind capacity with another 3.5 MW wind station to come on line at Friedrichsgabekoog in June and a further 10 MW planned for operation in 1996 near Steinburg. Until now the company has carried out the planning for nearly 59 MW of wind power with a further 109 MW to go in the ground over the next two years.

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