Danish utility to build three more

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Denmark's Dong Energy, on the way to a listing on the Copenhagen stock exchange, ended 2007 with news of two major investments in offshore wind power. First it launched two offshore wind farms in Britain with its sanctioning of DKK 5.2 billion (EUR 697.62 million) of investment in them. Second, it confirmed an order for 91 Siemens 2.3 MW turbines for the long-planned extension of its existing Horns Rev 160 MW wind farm of Vestas turbines in the Danish North Sea.

The two British projects are the 151 MW Walney Island wind farm, 15 kilometres off Cumbria in the north Irish Sea and a 64 MW project at Gunfleet Sands off Essex on the east coast of England. Both are expected online in 2010. The DKK 3.8 billion Walney Island project of 42 wind turbines is planned as the first phase of a 450 MW wind farm which received consent in November. The DKK 1.4 billion Gunfleet Sands II is an 18-turbine extension to an 108 MW wind farm of Siemens 3 MW turbines due for completion in 2009. Dong already has two operational offshore wind farms in the UK.

In Denmark, Siemens says Dong's 209.3 MW Horns Rev order is the turbine manufacturer's largest yet for an offshore development and includes a two-year service and maintenance agreement. As with the initial stage of Gunfleet Sands, the first turbines at Horns Rev are due online in early 2009 with full start-up slated for the end of that year. Power from the government-sponsored project will be sold into the grid based on the price bid by Dong in 2005 to win the contract: EUR 69/MWh for the first 50,000 hours of operation at full load, which would take about 15 years to achieve.

Earlier this year Dong pulled out of its 80% ownership of the Rødsand II extension in the Baltic Sea, another government-sponsored project, citing poor economics. The bid price, at EUR 67/MWh, was only marginally lower than that for Horns Rev. Dong's decision to go ahead at Horns Rev is reportedly the price it paid for being allowed to drop Rødsand by the Danish government. Dong has a preliminary agreement with Novo Nordisk, a pharmaceutical company, for sale of some of the Horns Rev output at a premium price. The money is to come from savings that Dong secures for the Novo Nordisk concern through an energy savings program.

Meantime, the fate of the Rødsand extension off Nysted hangs in the balance after the remaining owner, the Swedish division of German utility E.ON, last month also pulled out of the project, saying it would be uneconomic to proceed with it under the terms of the original contract with the Danish government.

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