German technology for next sea project

A 48 MW wind farm by Swedish company Eurowind looks as if it will become the first offshore project to go on line using 1.5 MW turbines. With no obvious stumbling blocks in the way, the company expects the plant to be operating in 1999 with 32 German Enercon 1.5 MW machines churning energy in the strait separating Sweden and Denmark.

The Enercon project is ahead of that being developed by competitor Renewable Energy AB. It has plans for some 750 MW offshore wind capacity in the same region within three years (Windpower Monthly, October 1997).

The Eurowind project is planned for a site eight kilometres from the coast, where on clear days the turbines will only just be visible on the horizon. It will produce the same amount of wind power of all that installed on Sweden's mainland today. The electricity will also replace coal generated power to be imported from Denmark when the planned phase out of nuclear power from the nearby Barsebäck reactors begins, says the company.

The permit process has gone smoothly. Eurowind has gained rights to build on the Lillgrund bank, where the water is from 1.5-7.0 metres deep. An environmental impact assessment must now be delivered to the national water board for final review. The company expects the final approval within a year.

Five Swedish companies are negotiating to form a consortium to finance, own and run the wind farm, to be announced this month. The total investment is estimated at SEK 500 million. Eurowind expects the wind station to produce some 188,000 MWh a year, making it profitable without state investment subsidy -- a plus, since the Swedish 15% wind turbine subsidy applies only to land based machines. An environmental bonus of SEK 0.13/kWh will still be earned for the power produced.

Eurowind is studying the feasibility of placing the transmission line to the mainland along a natural gas pipeline that runs in a channel across the strait. The company also plans to co-ordinate the project's construction with that of the Øresund bridge, which is now being built between Malmö in Sweden and Copenhagen in Denmark, five kilometres north of the site. Officials hope to have access to the large cranes and other offshore equipment used for the bridge building.