Saal on the east German Baltic coast has got its fifth wind farm, bringing the total number of turbines operated by the BVT up to 66. In spite of the increasing cost of renting wind farm sites, the public now seems more than ready to invest in environmentally oriented projects.

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A fifth wind plant project at Saal on the east German Baltic coast was inaugurated by BVT, a project financing company based in Munich, on September 3. The project is comprised of two V39 and seven V27 wind turbines from Vestas, with an installed capacity of 2.58 MW and total investment of DEM 8 million.

This latest Saal wind farm to be developed by BVT was taken over from the original developers who were unable to fully finance it. Working closely with Etaplan, an engineering office also based in Munich, BVT now operates 66 wind turbines with a nominal capacity of 17.18 MW. BVT's first project of 35 Husumer Schiffswerft 250 kW turbines, forming the Nord Friesland wind station, came into operation in 1989. Total investment in it was DEM 28 million. This project was expanded by a further 15 HSW turbines, or 3.75 MW, in 1990 costing DEM 14.2 million. The Nord Friesland project of 50 turbines was followed in 1992 by a modest three turbine wind plant in the Eifel district of North Rhine Westfalia. Three Enercon E-33 turbines were installed at a project cost of DEM 3.3 million. The same year a further four E33 machines were added, boosting capacity to 2.1 MW for DEM 4.2 million.

BVT, founded in 1976, has further wind projects in the pipeline. A 1.5 MW station at Starnberg is under construction and Windpark Hüttenrode, of 4 MW installed capacity costing DEM 10.5 million, is being planned. "But it is becoming ever more difficult to find suitable wind locations and land rentals for wind sites are soaring sky high," says Reinhard Weeg from BVT. Such high rent for wind sites is being demanded that there is a danger that many potential projects will become unattractive as their economic feasibility is cut to the bone. Investors in the Saal wind station, however, expect to earn an effective return on investment (including tax advantages) of 8% assuming turbine availability of 95%.

Wind power plays only a small part in BVT's business and its combined heat and power projects are usually considerably larger. But in both fields BVT notes an increasing readiness by the public to invest in environmental projects -- for a combined heat and power plant in Dessau it raised DEM 55 million within three weeks -- especially since some uncertainty has crept into the housing and property market.

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