Licences sought for German waters

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German offshore wind projects amounting to 2000 MW of installed generating capacity are being planned by wind station operator and planning company Winkra Energie. It expects the plants to be operating by 2005. Winkra aims to co-ordinate the generation of the wind power with production in gas fired power stations to secure a significant part of Germany's power needs, reports the company's Martin Lawrenz.

Winkra has lodged an application with the economic affairs ministries in Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein for 200 to 250 machines for a North Sea project located about 20 kilometres from the island of Helgoland, Lawrenz says. For this project, as well as for one in preparatory stages for 200 turbines in the Baltic Sea, Winkra anticipates using machines as large as 5 MW, he says, a size being developed by several manufacturers, but not yet on the market. With due consideration to nature protection issues, the company plans to install the turbines in depths of ten to 28 metres at distances of 30 to 50 kilometres from the coast.

Winkra expects to co-ordinate the wind stations' output with gas power stations during peak demand periods to guarantee a secure power supply, which the company says will be as reliable as that from four or five conventional coal or nuclear power stations.

The company is also backing a proposal to set up a working group that comprises representatives from several Länder and their ministries to co-ordinate future German offshore projects.

Lawrenz says Winkra is currently discussing its options for raising the DEM 6-7 billion (EUR 3.06-3.6 billion) needed for the projects, including planning, turbines, infrastructure, sea cable and transformer station on land. One plan involves listing a yet-to-be-founded operator company for the offshore stations on the stock exchange, with the possible participation of large component manufacturers and suppliers and services companies in northern Germany. Alternatively, once the project is licensed, Winkra Energie can sell the package to a utility or turbine manufacturer.

Expect green light

In the meantime, Winkra reports that planning for another offshore wind station, closer to shore near the port of Wilhelmshaven, is well underway (Windpower Monthly, June 1998). "We expect the go-ahead from the Wilhelmshaven District government any day now," Lawrenz says. Approval has been slow in coming because the port company, Hafenwirtschaftgesellschaft, has feared the wind turbines will be in the way if a new harbour is built in 15 to 20 years. Winkra Energie has tried to diffuse this problem by pledging it will dismantle the turbines, if necessary. The wind station is to be sited between existing docks for oil and gas tankers.

Once regional planning is completed, the construction licence procedure is expected to proceed swiftly to allow building to begin at the end of 1999, says Lawrenz. "We want to have this project-Germany's first offshore station-up and running for the world EXPO 2000 exhibition beginning in May," he says. Current plans call for 11 Enercon 1.5 MW E66 machines, although it might be necessary to optimise the turbines, which are developed for use on land, he adds.

Winkra Energie, which recently celebrated its first ten years of business, has overseen the installation of more than 400 wind turbines at several sites between Flensburg and Frankfurt. The company employs 20 staff and operates 43 turbines, with turnover in 1998 at nearly DEM 20 million (EUR 10.22 million). Over the coming years, Winkra Energie will concentrate less on planning for other companies and more on building wind stations for its own use in order to expand its position as a power generator, Lawrenz says.

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