Finding niches internationally

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German wind company Jacobs Energie reports that it is supplying wind turbines this year to countries as far flung as China, Greece, Japan and Ireland as well as to the home market. Building on a small three turbine wind project in China, completed at the end of 1996 with support from Germany's Eldorado program, Jacobs says it is delivering a further ten machines to the same customer, the Xinjiang Wind Energy Company in Urumqi in the northern province of Xinjiang. Eldorado provides money for renewable energy projects in developing countries, such as the three 500 kW Jacobs turbines already sent to Urumqi.

Under a licence agreement, components for two of the contracted ten turbines are being assembled in China for installation at the end of April, says Volker Hansen of Jacobs Energie. Parts for another four are now being shipped. These should be assembled and ready for installation in the summer. An order for components for the remaining four was due at the end of last month, with installation scheduled before the onset of winter.

Meantime, Jacobs is to supply 20, 600 kW turbines to Greece this year, reports the company's Hansen. The project, at a site 60 kilometres from Athens, is awaiting confirmation of a grant from the Greek economic ministry, says Hansen. He expects that the turbines will be installed by the end of the year, feeding power into the national grid.

In Japan, the Okinawa electric utility on the Japanese island of Okinawa is to take delivery of a Jacobs 500 kW turbine in March. It should be turning by the summer. And in Ireland, Jacobs Energie has received technical approval for two wind farms of eight and six 600 kW machines in the southeast of the republic. Jacobs headed for the southeast of Ireland because in the west "real competition, to put it mildly, is at work," says Hansen. "Wind speeds are not quite as good, but at least we aren't trampling on each other's toes as much."

The deadline for commercial approval of applications for support under Ireland's Alternative Energy Requirement (AER) was February 13, says Hansen. According to the UK government's Energy Technology Support Unit, which is conducting the approvals on behalf of the Irish Electricity Board, decisions will be taken in two to three months time, says Hansen. If all goes well, Jacobs hopes to have the turbines installed by April 1999.

At home in Germany Jacobs says it has orders for 14, 600 kW turbines so far this year. A pair were installed at the end of February in Dithmarschen, with another 12 to follow at a site close by later in the year. This follows the installation of 15, 500 kW and 600 kW machines in Germany last year.

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