Going solo with transformer station

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German wind developer Umwelt Kontor has brought its own transformer station into operation to take power from new wind plants and convert it from 20 kV to 110 kV before feeding the electricity into the RWE Energie grid. The transformer station, in Hallschlag parish in the Eifel region of North Rhine Westphalia, is the first to be built by private investors in the RWE grid area. It will also take power from new wind plant built by other developers.

"Co-operation with the utility was excellent," says Heinrich Lohmann of Umwelt Kontor. The company set up Energieversorgung Eifel in mid 1998 to finance and operate the transformer station. After a Europe wide tender to select a manufacturer, Umwelt Kontor opted to buy the transformer station from the Dresden branch of large electric equipment company Alsthom.

The station has a capacity of 40 MW but this can be boosted to 50 MW with the addition of a cooling plant. An additional transformer can be added to bring capacity to 80 MW, a size that RWE Energie is happy with. "Already a wind developer with two stations of ten 1.5 MW turbines each has shown firm interest in using the extra capacity," Lohmann says.

The Umwelt Kontor wind plant to be served by the new transformer station are ten DeWind 1 MW units and three NEG Micon 1 MW turbines at Hallschlag/Scheid, nine 1 MW or 1.5 MW machines at Reuth-where the turbine supplier has yet to be chosen-and three 1 MW machines at Ormont, also yet to be specified. In addition, three Enercon 1.5 MW machines and four unspecified 1.5 MW machines, owned by private operators, will also feed their power to the transformer station. The DeWind machines will be installed this year, the others following in 2000, Lohmann says.

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