German first offshore project postponed

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Installation of Germany's first offshore wind farm, the Alpha Ventus 60 MW demonstration project, has fallen behind schedule again, with a new postponement to the spring. Project firm Deutsche Offshore Testfeld und Infrastruktur (DOTI) says work laying the wind farm's internal undersea cables has stopped after a spell of bad weather prevented installation of the 12 tripod foundations for the Multibrid 5 MW turbines at the site, 45 kilometres off the island of Borkum. Foundation work for the offshore transformer station is proceeding. The first six turbines are still being assembled and will be stored on the quayside at Bremerhaven until needed, says Multibrid's Felix Debierre. The turbines have been adapted specifically for Alpha Ventus and cannot be used for other offshore projects, he adds. Multibrid is part of French nuclear group Areva. Debierre points out that the status of Alpha Ventus as a pilot project means it is supported by several institutions, which adds to the logistical complexity. The advantage is that Multibrid "gets exposure to three utilities through the one project," he says. DOTI is a joint venture set up by German utilities EWE and E.ON Climate & Renewables as well as Sweden's Vattenfall Europe. Multibrid expects to be producing about 100 of its 5 MW turbines each year by 2011-2012, says Debierre.

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