Developers join in new kind of company

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Eleven wind plant companies in the German inland state of North Rhine Westphalia have joined forces with a number of individual turbine owners with the aim of strengthening their market presence. Calling themselves Wirbelwind, the group's members are pooling know-how and throwing their combined weight into purchase negotiations with wind turbine manufacturers. In total, Wirbelwind operates about 30 MW of wind plant and has rights to potential sites for more than 110 turbines in the east of North Rhine Westphalia.

Wirbelwind's first framework contract was signed in February with two turbine manufacturers, Tacke Windenergie and Südwind Energie. Südwind is now part of Nordex following its takeover by Nordex's parent (Windpower Monthly, February 1999). One of Wirbelwind's members, Bürgerwindpark Madfeld-Bleiwäsche, now has options on six TW 1.5 MW units and two Südwind 600 kW turbines destined for Hochsauerland, reports Bürgerwindpark's Thomas Hachmann.

With Wirbelwind's strength behind him, Hachmann says he has got a better contract, including a five year turbine guarantee and the right to information on all component suppliers, so that parts can be obtained even if the turbine manufacturer disappears. These conditions are standard practice in the field of large power plant construction, Hachmann adds.

Wirbelwind's aim is to get operators and manufacturers to find ways of developing less windy sites. It also wants to take on the service of the turbines, with the support of manufacturers, to pursue preventative maintenance. It believes this will create new local jobs. Eventually, Wirbelwind may also organise the marketing of the power generated by its members.

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