Working turbines in wind art display

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An association in Hannover that calls itself Klex has won approval for a 12 MW wind station and five "wind art" installations in preparation for the EXPO 2000 world trade exhibition. Klex is an abbreviation of a German title which translates as "climate protection program Expo-region Hannover." Its proposal won a competition in how to turn the city and its surrounding region into an exhibit for the expo, which will take place in the summer of 2000. Klex -- which is made up of companies, an association of communes in the region and the Energy Agency of Lower Saxony -- aims to achieve a 25% reduction in regional CO2 emissions through a variety of energy and environmental projects.

A private operator company is to build the wind station, Windpark Meerberg 2000, at a site about 20 kilometres south east of Hannover. It will comprise up to eight turbines and is expected to generate some 20 GWh a year, sufficient to supply about 8000 households, according to Klex. The project should be complete by the end of 1999.

Behind the works of art is wind energy planning company Windwärts Energie, based in Hannover (Windpower Monthly, June 1998). Five proposed works have been selected and these will be completed by German and foreign artists. The aim is to turn operational wind turbines into artistic sculptures. Blades will be given new forms, towers filled with coloured lights, nacelles will become visual communication media and surrounding landscapes will be altered, according to the artists' plans.

The communes in the Hannover region have clearly been taken with the idea of wind energy. Before EXPO 2000, the city's communal association plans to increase the local population of wind turbines from the current number of 42 to about 150, generating around 225 GWh a year. This is enough to cover the supply of about 20% of households in the region, the association reports.

German wind observers hope the local initiatives will be more successful than the Expo is so far proving to be. Already the exhibition is bugged by negative headlines over finance problems. Without state aid, the event threatens to run up losses of hundreds of million, with taxpayers footing the bill.

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