Concern over Sandbank project

German offshore project developer Projekt is worried about the commercial viability of its planned wind station, Sandbank 24. The federal shipping office Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH), the German permitting authority for wind developments at sea, considers projects with a maximum of 80 turbines, but the Sandbank 24 pilot project is only commercially viable with 120 turbines, according to Heike Kröger of the company. The site is 90 kilometres from the island of Sylt in the North Sea, level with the German-Danish border. The project is divided into seven phases and will total 980 turbines. Projekt aimed from the start to keep the environmental risks as small as possible, ensuring the chosen site did not collide with nature protection areas. "But this means costs are higher because the project lies farther out to sea in deeper waters," Kröger says. The company is pinning its hopes on an assessment of the legal framework for offshore developments, published by the German Council of Experts for Environment Affairs in April. This questions whether the BSH cap on the number of turbines in a pilot project "is really sensible on grounds of nature protection," but points out that current regulations on industrial plant at sea do not allow the BSH scope for discretion. Meantime, Projekt has delivered the results of an environment impact analysis for Sandbank 24 to BSH.

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