Boost to new era of megawatt growth

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The development in Germany of a huge wind farm of 1.5 MW turbines moved into a new phase last month with the awarding of a contract to NEG Micon of Denmark for the supply of 18 machines. These will join 12 NEG Micon 1.5 MW turbines now being erected at the site in the Emsland area of Lower Saxony (Windpower Monthly, April 1997). These are the first stages of a wind farm to comprise 48 megawatt scale turbines when complete.

The giant project, straddling the parishes of Renkenberge and Sustrum, has three German development companies behind it: the subsidiary of a Munich power plant constructor, BVT Windpark Sustrum/Renkenberge; Windpark Sustrum, a company owned by three private investors; and Windpark Nordliches Emsland (WNE), owned by the Emsländische Landvolk, a farmers organisation.

Last month's order not only gives a boost to sales of megawatt wind turbines, but also marks the start of a three-way co-operation between Thyssen Rheinstahl Technik, BVT Holding GmbH & Co KG in Munich (owner of BVT Windpark), and the Danish wind turbine manufacturer NEG Micon. Thyssen Rheinstahl Technik is a project finance and power plant developer and a subsidiary of the German industrial giant Thyssen. The three companies will together build large scale wind projects in Germany and overseas, according to BVT's Joachim Herrnsdorf. Lending support to the group is the Bayerische Hypotheken und Vereinsbank, he adds. Technical support to BVT is supplied by Etaplan energy planning, operating out of Munich under Erich Hau. During this year, BVT Holding will seek investors in the form of limited partners in BVT Windpark Sustrum/Renkenberge.

Meantime, NEG Micon's Jens-Erik Kristensen says he expects his company to soon receive a third order for the Sustrum/Renkenberge project. If placed, this will be for two turbines, which will bring the total number of NEG Micon 1.5 MW units in the project to 32.

Of the total of 48 turbines planned, the 18 just ordered from NEG Micon are being developed by BVT, plus another two NEG machines if all goes according to plan. The 12 NEG Micon turbines now going in the ground are being developed by Windpark Sustrum, while 16 further turbines are planned by WNE, though BVT has an option on six of these and would use NEG Micon's 1.5 MW. WNE has yet to choose its technology supplier, but only megawatt technology is in the frame.

The 18 newly ordered turbines for BVT are due to be commissioned in the second half of 1998, says Kristensen. The total value of the turnkey order is DEM 67 million, of which the NEG Micon share of about DEM 49 million includes delivery and installation. It will be "the world's largest wind station using 1.5 MW turbines," according to NEG Micon. This part of the project is being financed together with the Bayerische Vereinsbank München, with which BVT has worked for many years, states NEG Micon. Site management is subcontracted to Plenum of Fulkum by Thyssen and NEG Micon.

BVT Holding is a planning and financing company for fossil fuel plant, renewable energy systems, fossil fuel plant and property projects at home and abroad. It already operates 66 wind turbines in Germany -- in the Eifel area, North Friesland, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Koog and Saal -- from when it was active in the business early this decade. BVT lost interest in the business when small time investors took over the market. "We are only interested in projects of over DEM 30 million. With the megawatt turbines, financing has moved into this new dimension -- and we're back," says Herrnsdorf.

The Renkenberge wind farm is sited on the route of an experimental magnetic rail system being built by Thyssen. Visitors shipped in by Thyssen to visit the rail system as part of the Expo 2000 world trade exhibition will have the added benefit of being able to view the new wind station.

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