Two neighbouring North Sea offshore pilot projects for a total of 160 wind turbines have won conditional use permits from the German shipping office, Bundesamt für Schifffahrt und Hydrologie (BSH). Winkra-Energie, a German subsidiary of Dutch utility Essent, is planning 80 turbines. BSH has authorised Winkra's plan for a 400 MW wind plant some 30 kilometres north of Helgoland island. If built, the EUR 750 million project could generate 1.6 TWh/year, according to Winkra, which says it will be online in 2007. Another 170 turbines are planned for a later date. Winkra Energie owns and operates 250 MW of wind plant in Germany and expects to bring another 150 MW online by the end of the year. The second offshore project, for a maximum of 80 turbines, is being developed by utility E.on. Amrumbank West lies 36 kilometres southwest of Amrum island, a few kilometres north of the Winkra project. A permit for a research platform at the site to gather meteorological and wave data has also been granted, says BSH. The two companies plan to use the same cable route to shore and will co-ordinate their construction to minimise disturbance to the environment. These are the same tactics adopted for two further permitted North Sea projects being developed by Energiekontor and Plambeck Neue Energien (Windpower Monthly, March 2004). BSH has placed a number of conditions on its recent permits, which include the option to order a temporary shut down of the wind stations to avoid, for example, threatened bird kills in a given period.
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