Installation high in the Alps

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A new record looks to be set this year for the highest wind plant site in Europe. Two 1.3 MW Bonus turbines are slated for Oberseiring, 1835 metres above sea level in the Alps. Partners in the project are engineering office Energiewerkstatt, turbine supplier Bonus of Denmark, the Finnish Meteorological Institute and Finnish company Kemijoki Arctic Technology, the German wind energy Institute DEWI, and the Austrian companies Prangl Transporte and Tauernwind, which will operate the wind station. Of the originally planned ten turbines, two have been granted planning permission. The turbines will be specially modified for the cold climate and equipped with blades that can be heated. Wind speeds at ten metres above the ground are 7 m/s and the location is one of the best in Austria, says Hans Winkelmeier of Energiewerkstatt. Although there are ski lifts and a scenic route nearby, the area is inaccessible for building equipment for six months a year and this, combined with extreme weather conditions and complicated grid connection, poses enormous problems for the project planners, Winkelmeier says. Funds from the EU's Altener program and from the local government of Styria have been awarded for an assessment of the problems. Austrian and German experts are conducting three dimensional wind measurements at the site using a 50 metre mast to estimate the effects of ice and frost on the turbines. The highest wind turbine in Europe so far is an NEG Micon 750 kW machine installed at Plankoegel, 1535 metres above sea level, in the Land of Styria, says Winkelmeier.

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