Between Denmark and Sweden

A consortium of Göteborg Energi, ABB and Nordex has unveiled plans for an offshore wind farm that would add up to 175 MW to Sweden's current wind power capacity of 260 MW, including 22.5 MW of existing offshore installations. The plant, to be built 22-26 kilometres out to sea from Varberg on Sweden's west coast, is to consist of between 40 and 50 turbines, each with capacity of 2.5-3.5 MW. Göteborg Energi, the state-owned energy utility in Gothenburg, Sweden's second largest city, estimates the plant will cost SEK 1 billion to construct and will double the company's existing electricity generating capacity. It would be capable of supplying electricity to 20,000 homes, equivalent to 10% of Gothenburg's annual electricity use.

German-Danish company Nordex is to supply the wind turbines while ABB, the large Swiss-Swedish electrical engineering group, will be in overall charge of the project and will also supply the technology for transmission of electricity to the mainland. For the past two years ABB has been touting its HVDC "light" cable technology as a cost cutting way of transporting large amounts of electricity over long distances.

Göteborg Energi's Ola Nordgren says electricity generated by the plant would bolster the company's efforts to expand its "clean energy" sources. Technical, financial and environmental assessments are underway but Nordgren stresses the plans are at an early stage.

The first step is to secure approval from Sweden's environmental court. The wind farm proposal has already come under fire from Swedish fishermen, who are concerned it will impede trawling activities in the vicinity. The environmental court is expected to rule within 6-12 months of the consortium formally submitting the plan, which Göteborg Energi says will take place before Christmas.

The plant, which the consortium hopes to be up and running by 2004, is planned for the Fladen area of the Kattegatt, a shallow area of sea between Sweden and Denmark. The turbines, expected to be 60-80 metres tall, will be erected within a triangular zone, with each side being about 10 kilometres long.

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