New turbine test station fully booked

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All but one of the eight test pads at North Rhine Westphalia's new wind turbine test station at Grevenbroich are booked following the official inauguration of the station on February 5. Three machines are already operating at the site on the Frimmersdorfer Heights, two more turbines are due for installation before the summer, and two test pads are reserved for use further ahead.

Of the three turbines now turning, two are 750 kW units, one from Tacke Windenergie, installed in December, and one from Südwind Energiesysteme, installed in January. Südwind's turbine was built in Lichtenau and Tacke's Zond Z50 was produced by its California partner, Zond Energy Systems. The station's first wind turbine was a 600 kW unit from DeWind, built in Lübeck and installed in September 1998. Still to arrive are a 1 MW DeWind machine, due this month, and the long awaited 1.5 MW machine built by Austrian company Windtec, scheduled to be on site in June. This machine's market entry has been delayed by a year following problems with new blades developed by LM Glasfiber, says Windtec's Gerald Hehenberger. Two further test pads are also contracted, one for a 2.2-2.5 MW machine and the other for a next-generation turbine, with a nominal capacity rating of 2.5-3 MW.

Windtest Grevenbroich tests, optimises and certifies prototype turbines for inland areas, in accordance with German, Danish and Dutch regulations. The tests take three to four years, including time for optimisation. Turbines may stay on the testfield for six to seven years, says managing director Bernhard Richter. Windtest Grevenbroich is also carrying out wind monitoring in Portugal, Spain and Denmark, and is developing a method for measuring wind strengths using sound waves, with the aim of making the use of expensive wind monitoring masts superfluous.

The test station was founded as a private limited company on October 7, 1996, by the Investitionsbank North Rhine Westphalia, certification company Germanischer Lloyd, and Germany's largest power utility, RWE Energie. Each have a 25% share of the facility. The remaining 25% is owned by the district of Neuss and the Grevenbroich Stadtentwicklungs-Gesellschaft, the Grevenbroich development authority. The state government's future energies program met half the infrastructure costs.

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