The coastal district of Emsland in northwest Germany is preparing the ground for a substantial repowering of old wind turbines with state-of-the-art machines, in the hope that it can triple its current wind capacity to 1500 MW in the medium term. Emsland's district council has approved new regional planning rules that remove height restrictions on wind turbines, says the council's Arno Fillies, paving the way for bigger, more powerful machines. In addition, existing areas earmarked for wind power have been expanded and new locations added. A 100 hectare area between Haren-Fehndorf and the Dutch border has been chosen for a research and development facility to investigate methods of storing wind generated power. Wind turbine supplier Enercon and several other companies have expressed interest in using the facility, says Fillies.