Germany

Germany

A fog of speculation says company

Reports that Enercon is developing a 5 MW wind turbine in co-operation with utility Preussenelektra are denied by both Enercon's Alloys Wobben and the utility.

Widespread reports that Germany's largest wind turbine manufacturer, Enercon, is developing a 5 MW wind turbine in co-operation with utility Preussenelektra are denied by both Enercon's Alloys Wobben and the utility. Rumours have been circulating in both the wind industry and press that a 5 MW Enercon would be erected at the Expo 2000 world trade fair in Hannover.

"I suggested installing a suitable turbine which can make a statement for wind energy well into the next century," says Wobben. Humorous talk of a giant wind turbine was taken up by the press. "They now know more about the development of a 5 MW machine than I do," he comments.

Reports that Preussenelektra is involved are not true, says Wolf Hatje from the utility. "Enercon has had discussions with the Lower Saxony economy ministry and we happened to be present at one of the sittings," Hatje says. "We have not been asked to become involved and the probability that we would take part, if asked, is very small -- verging on zero. We can imagine that Enercon might look for a financially strong partner for such a project, but we wouldn't be the company to step in."

The Expo 2000 organisers had at one time talked of a "sun chimney" convector tower to symbolise the importance of renewable energy for the new century, says Wobben. He had suggested that a wind turbine would be more appropriate, naming his company's 1.5 MW machine. Wobben's idea was to place it on a 100 metre tower containing a restaurant at 50 metres. Other ideas included "a bit bigger, larger blades perhaps." Time is short for anything else, he notes.

Enercon contacted architect Sir Norman Foster to sound out design ideas. At this point talk of a 5 MW turbine began, catching the attention of the German press. "The rest is a fog of speculation," says Wobben.

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