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A second prototype of a Russian 1 MW wind turbine, the Raduga-1, is expected to go in the ground in July this year, following the first machine which has been operating over the last 12 months at a site some 300 kilometres south of Wolgograd. The machines have been built in "a swords to plough shares" project by a military aircraft enterprise in Moscow, says Dieter Schaarschmidt, from the Wendland Wind operating company in Güstritz in Germany. He met recently with Eduard Perminow, the head of department for unconventional renewable energies and energy saving at the Russian Energy Ministry. The two 1 MW machines are being financed by the Russian utility EES Rossii, says Schaarschmidt. He remarks that prototype turbine, with aluminium blades, would not win a beauty competition nor win points for quietness. However, he adds, these aspects are of lesser importance in the bleak and desolate windy spaces to be found in Russia than the ability to withstand temperature differences from minus 50 to plus 40 degrees Celcius. Some 20, 250 kW machines, the predecessor model for the megawatt turbine, are now operating at a location near Workuta, he continues. Further small machines of 100 kW, 30 kW and 8 kW are apparently being developed but scarcity of funds is hampering progress. Schaarschmidt says the nascent Russian wind turbine manufacturing industry should be granted support under the wider Chernobyl aid programme. However, he also warns that close tabs would have to be kept on the money to stop it flowing into turbid channels.

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