Megawatt turbines for huge port

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An offshore wind plant of 16 turbines sited close to the huge German port of Wilhelmshaven is planned by Winkra-Energie, a wind developer based in Hannover. The company hopes to have the wind station, estimated to be about 24 MW, on line by the end of 1999 in time for the EXPO 2000 trade fair, at which Wilhelmshaven is to provide the external exhibition site.

Winkra expects regional planning for the wind station to be completed by the end of this month, after which the licensing procedure can begin, reports Uwe Carstensen of the company. The site lies in the Jade estuary on the western side of a shipping channel leading to Wilhelmshaven and in-between oil tanker unloading facilities. Water depths do not exceed 12 metres. The turbine nearest shore will be about 350 metres from the dike; the farthest will be 1.5 kilometres offshore.

The originator of the project, engineering office LUV Wind-Energie, based in Wardenburg/Oldenburg, originally envisaged a wind station of 27 turbines (Windpower Monthly, January 1995). The size was reduced to take account of plans to build a deep water harbour, the Jade Port. Winkra, which took over management of the project in 1995, reports it has worked closely with the organisation representing port companies at Wilhelmshaven.

Initially, Winkra-Energie anticipated using 1.5 MW turbines commercially available for the project, Carstensen says. In the meantime a new option has opened up. Germany's wind energy institute DEWI has become increasingly frustrated over the limited space of its wind test field and has looked for offshore possibilities for testing new turbines larger than 1.5 MW. Thus Winkra is considering making some of its planned sites available to DEWI, says Carstensen.

The operator of the wind station will be a Winkra-Energie subsidiary, Winkra Wilhelmshaven Windparkbetrieb (WWW). According to Carstensen, WWW hopes to own the wind station jointly with whichever utility buys the power -- either EWE of Oldenburg or Preussenelektra. For Preussenelektra, such a development would mean a remarkable new direction. In the autumn the utility denied any interest in becoming involved in offshore wind energy (Windpower Monthly, October 1997).

Winkra was founded in 1989 and reports it has developed 150 MW of wind projects using more than 220 turbines. The company also operates 40 turbines, with a combined capacity of 20 MW. Carstensen says Winkra is planning more than 200 MW of wind projects.

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