A small Irish developer has revealed plans to build a wind farm off the coast of western Ireland. National Windpower (NWP) -- no relation to National Wind Power of the UK -- hopes to build a demonstration project of around six turbines in the Shannon Estuary in phase one of the development. The company is progressing the project in collaboration with Siemens AG of Germany. If the project goes ahead, Siemens will be awarded the contracts to equip, procure and construct, and to operate and maintain the wind farm for up to 20 years, subject to five yearly reviews. The Department of the Marine awarded NWP a site licence in June 2002 for an area of 50 square kilometres in the lower estuary where wind speeds are 10 m/s, the company says. NWP's David Fitzgerald says feasibility studies are already under way and should be completed in 2003. Subject to gaining government support under an anticipated round of tenders for offshore wind under Ireland's Alternative Energy Requirement, Fitzgerald says that phase one of the project could be built in 2004. Phase two, totalling some 200 MW, could be built by 2007 to dovetail with the planned decommissioning of 50% of the nearby coal fired Moneypoint 900 MW power station, says Fitzgerald.
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