Biggest inland wind station ever

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Building work has started on a 36 MW wind farm in the inland German state of North Rhine Westfalia (NRW) after a ceremonial start to construction on April 11 by NRW building minister Michael Vesper. When complete, Windpark Lichtenau-Asseln will comprise 58 turbines.

As one of the largest wind plant in Europe, it is expected to generate 65 million kWh annually, enough power for 50,000 people, while saving 44,000 tonnes of C02 emissions a year, according to the project's developers.

The DEM 60 million venture is being realised by three separate groups. Asselner Windkraft, set up by 60 local farmers and other citizens, will install 20 turbines. A subsidiary of wind project planning company Winkra of Hannover is to own and operate another 20 turbines. And the remaining 28 machines are to be owned by a number of individual investors.

In the first stage of the project, Winkra Lichtenau Windparkbetrieb will buy and install 20 Enercon E40 500 kW machines while Asselner Windkraft will buy and operate wind turbines supplied by Südwind of Berlin.

To meet the order, Südwind Energiesysteme will establish an assembly factory close to the site. As part of the ceremony on April 11, it signed a contract with the town of Lichtenau to build the new works and expects to assemble at least some turbines there by the end of the year. The S-46 turbines will have rated capacities of 600 kW and 750 kW.

The involved companies acknowledge that without financial support from the NRW renewables programme, REN, the wind farm would not be built. Lichtenau welcomes the project as a provider of jobs and future tax income.

The power from the wind station is to be transmitted over a distance of 10 kilometres by an underground 30 kV cable to a transformer station at Husen before being fed into the grid of utility VEW Energie of Dortmund. The high voltage transmission is what makes the project economic in the first place, say the developers, by saving tonnes of copper and aluminium and reducing transmission losses.

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