A Europe wide invitation for tenders to supply a transformer station for a large wind station has been issued by wind plant development company Umweltkontor, an engineering office based in Hückelhoven. "We hope for a significant saving on the quotes we have already had from German manufacturers," says the company's Heinrich Lohmann. A scandal erupted last year over price collusion and quota setting amongst 14 cable producers, including Siemens and ABB, in the heavy cable sector. Umweltkontor joins others in suspecting that similar cartel forces may be at work in the transformer station market. Umweltkontor is the first private operator in Germany to have successfully negotiated to own and operate a transformer station for a wind power plant, adds Lohmann. Normally transformer stations are built and operated by the local electricity utility. But in the case of a large wind station Umweltkontor is planning at a site in the Eifel area south of Cologne, utility RWE Energie has agreed to relinquish this job to the developer. The site has been licensed for 30, 1-1.5 MW turbines. The supplier has yet to be selected. Umweltkontor, founded in 1996, has 15 employees and has completed six wind projects in the Rheinland and Eifel area, according to Lohmann. The closing date for transformer station bids is May 31.
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