Swedish utility Sydkraft has acquired offshore wind plant developer and producer Airicole, taking over the Utgrunden II project in Kalmar Sound, among other developments. Utgrunden II will have a capacity of up to 90 MW. Neither party reveals the selling price, but Sydkraft confirms it bought the company with the intention of strengthening its leading position in the wind power sector since its customers already account for half of the total electricity production from wind power in the country. "Airicole offers great competence, not least when it comes to the permits procedure, which will strengthen us further and help us increase the tempo of our expansion in this field in the Nordic region," says Sydkraft's Ulf Stjernfeldt. The Swedish energy agency has recently confirmed a SKK 70 million (EUR 7.7 million) subsidy for a pilot project at the Utgrunden site. It is seen as the ideal size for offshore projects in Sweden. The grant is part of the Swedish government's 2002 pledge of SKK 350 million (EUR 38.6 million) towards pilot projects offshore and in complex terrain. The subsidies expire next year. Airicole originally applied for a permit for Utgrunden II in 2001. The current plan is for around 20, 4.5 MW machines, though machines of this size are not yet commercially available. Final permits are not yet in hand, but Sydkraft hopes to begin installation next year.
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