Biomass and wind cogenerate

In what seems to be a first in Germany, an energy project consortium plans to combine wind with biomass so that it can guarantee a continuous supply. Power from the plant will be sold competitively through an electricity bourse.

Seven wind stations with a combined capacity of nearly 48 MW provided by 44 turbines (table) are being developed together with a 10 MW biomass power station in the Hannover region. Four of the wind stations -- Büren/Lutter, Laderholz, Nöpke and Mandelsloh -- are to be connected to the grid via the transformer station at Büren, which is being expanded to take on the extra load. "We can then feed in about 55 million kilowatt hours of wind power annually en bloc at the 110 kilovolt grid level, which could be traded on the Hannover commodities exchange," says Christian Zydat of the Dezentrale-Energie Agentur (DEA), one of the consortium members. "To guarantee constant, base-load supply, we plan to have the biomass station connected via the same transformer station at Büren," he explains. It will operate as a combined heat and power plant.

The consortium is led by planning office Planungsbüro Windstrom Neustadt, which carried out the initial ground work for the wind stations. A development group was required because, "The financial risk coupled with the time factor in building the various stations was too great for a single planning office to carry," says Zydat.

Various financing models are running in parallel, ranging from offering shares in single wind turbines to private investors, to offering partnerships in an investment company. The minimum stake is set at a low DEM 5000, which the consortium hopes will help contribute to public acceptance of the project.