German offshore firm Prokon confident on sea cable permit in North Sea

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Prokon Nord Energiesysteme, a German offshore wind developer, is optimistic about securing a permit for a cable route to bring electricity ashore at Emden from its pilot project off the German coast at Borkum-West in the North Sea. A decision on the route, which takes in about three kilometres of the southern mud flats of the island of Nordeney, was due on April 26 from the Weser-Ems district government. A delay in granting permission for the 120 kilometres of alternating current cable, estimated to cost EUR 40 million, will push the May 2003 construction date to 2004, says Prokon's Alexander Klemt. Prokon has earlier aired its concern about opposition to the cable route from two environment groups, World Wildlife Fund and the German BUND. Prokon has investigated 11 possible routes and went for the Nordeney option as the most benign ecologically. Prokon has already gained a licence for the 12 turbine, 60 MW pilot project and expects to use 5 MW prototype machines. Manufacture of the 150 MW sea cable will take about a year, the company says. A new direct-current cable will be required for the main 1000 MW project at Borkum-West by rival developer Plambeck Neue Energien, assuming this gets a construction permit. Plambeck declined an invitation to jointly use the Prokon cable route for its North Sea project at Borkum Riffgrund, Klemt adds.

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