Against the clock for offshore subsidies - Deadline 2006

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German offshore developers must get their wind plant on-line by end 2006 to qualify for nine years of the highest premium rate for wind power under the new renewable energy law, Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz. If offshore wind stations more than three sea miles (5.5 kilometres) from the coast are not commissioned by then, the high rate of DEM 0.178 will only be available for the five years applicable to onshore plant (Windpower Monthly, March 2000).

Wind developer Winkra Energie has taken notice. With more than 2000 MW of offshore wind on its books, Winkra is focusing its attention on a North Sea project of 200-250, 4-5 MW turbines. According to the company's Achim Ernst, construction should begin at the site, 17 kilometres northeast of Helgoland, between 2005 and 2006. Winkra foresees regional planning procedures completed by autumn 2002, after which the construction licence procedure can begin, pushing the build date to early 2004.

Winkra applied already in January to grid company PreussenElektra Netz to connect an undersea cable from the wind turbines to the high voltage grid at Brunsbüttel, the site of a nuclear power station. "There are only a few locations where you can bring such a cable on land," according to Ernst, explaining the early move. Winkra hopes to be able to connect to a 500 MW undersea cable running from Norway to Brunsbüttel, due to start operating by the end of 2004 and owned by utility PreussenElektra and the Norwegian company Statnett.

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