The large island of Gotland is fast approaching a crucial 50 MW limit for wind capacity on the local grid. On summer nights, demand falls below that level and it is already anticipated that before the year is out wind turbines will be producing more than is needed on occasion. Today, 32 MW of wind plants are already supplying more than 10% of the electricity used by Gotland's 52,000 residents. Gotland, however, is connected to the mainland by two high voltage direct current cables -- one to transmit power from the mainland and the other as backup if the main cable fails. The local branch of the Swedish Windpower Association, GVP, is now investigating the potential of transmitting from the island to the mainland. Utility Vatenfall's initial response was one of horror at a proposal it said would cost tens of millions. But the local distribution company agrees there is a far cheaper technical solution that would cost no more than SEK 2 million, half the price of a 500 kW wind turbine. No decisions have yet been taken, but in all likelihood Gotland will be able to export wind power to the mainland by 1997 or 1998.
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