Enercon slows down offshore technology

Enercon declines to comment on reports that it has freed up production capacity to manufacture more 2 MW machines by putting further units of its 6 MW prototype unit on hold. The first prototype 6 MW was commissioned for utility EWE at Cuxhaven, Germany, at the end of 2005, and four Enercon 4.5 MW turbines have been upgraded to 6 MW, three in Emden and one in Wilhelmshaven. A fifth 6 MW unit is now being installed by Plambeck Neue Energien, also at Cuxhaven. But Enercon will not continue with offshore developments in the medium terms, says the company's Michael Dahm. It has pulled out of the Borkum West offshore test field for large scale offshore machines, leaving it open for Repower and Prokon Nord (page 43). He declined to confirm or deny whether production of the 6 MW has been downgraded in priority, as did the company's Martina Kuhlmann. But Dahm says that at least one more 6 MW prototype will be installed at an unspecified location next year, with a 126 metre diameter rotor using a new blade design. The model is to be type certified by Germany's Tüv Nord, a technical services provider, to the International Electro Technical Commission's latest wind turbine standard, which takes effect this month. The standard allows for extreme loads to be calculated in theory. Tüv Nord will inspect Enercon's machine load assumptions for the 6 MW, the results of which may have "a decisive influence on the economically efficient design of the plant," says Tüv Nord's Werner Petruschke. They may indicate that the turbine "can be built more economically," he says.