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Fifty megawatt a month in Germany

The German wind market continues to grow apace. In the first three months of the year, 214 turbines with a combined capacity of 144 MW were installed, an increase of nearly 37% on the first quarter of last year when 105 MW went up, reports Germany's wind energy association Bundesverband Windenergie (BWE).

"Experience tells us that the first three months of the year only sees 20% of the annual increase," says the BWE. That could mean 730 MW of new wind in 1998, heralding another record year. In 1997 530 MW went up. By the end of the year the total could be 2800 MW, generating up to 5.6 TWh, sufficient to supply about 1.6 million homes.

Meantime, the Danish wind industry reports that shipments of turbines to Germany accounted for 28% of its sales in the first quarter. Total Danish sales, however, are down for the first time in a year at 920 MW, though are better than for the same period last year when 868 MW was sold. The industry association says the drop in sales is because of the increasing numbers of turbines made on licence in Spain -- which are not included in the statistics -- and a dip in the fortunes of the home market. A record number of wind turbines were sold in Denmark last year and a 30% retraction is expected this year, says the association's Søren Krohn. "If this tendency continues, Germany will again surpass the home market as the largest market in 1998," adds Krohn.

He points out that the dip in sales is probably only temporary. Employment in the industry has never been higher in Denmark -- and is 12% greater than at this time last year with 2200 more people with jobs in wind power. "This may indicate that the decline in sales in the first quarter is temporary."

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