A Norwegian shipbuilding and engineering firm, Umoe Mandal, is hoping to win a EUR 9.59 million contract to supply blades to German wind turbine maker REpower Systems. If a prototype set of blades meets REpower's expectations, series blade production for the company's MD70, 1.5 MW turbine will start early next year, says REpower's Matthias Schubert. The blades are being made by Umoe Ryving, an Umoe Mandal subsidiary and part of the Norwegian Umoe Group, from a mould tool acquired from the bankrupt estate of former Dutch blade company Aerpac. "Umoe Ryving has ambitions to be established as a long term and significant blade supplier," says the company's Nere Skomedal, stressing it will be an "independent supplier." He says Umoe Ryving can make both 70 and 77 metre blades from the acquired mould. Umoe, adds Skomedal, has extensive experience of "large load-bearing composite structures." Schubert says REpower agreed to launch Umoe Ryving into the blade business after an approach by the Norwegian company. "We encourage all efforts to diversify the monoculture in the blade business, which is good for the industry," he adds. For REpower's export sales "it makes no difference whether the blades are shipped from a German or Norwegian port," says Schubert. The prototype set of blades is being built at an 11,000 square metre facility at Gismerøya with 15 staff. Ultimately it will employ at least 45, Skomedal told Norwegian newspaper Fædrelandsvennen.