New large unit and exports of small

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Series production in Germany of the new Seewind 750 kW turbine -- a variable speed design developed together with Danish company Wind World -- will begin in May. The company, based in Walzbachtal, expects to install at least ten machines this year, mainly in southern Germany.

The turbine has been developed especially for inland operation and is designed to run in variable speed operation up to 400 kW, from which point it shifts to fixed speed, according to Gerd Seel of Seewind. "To keep costs down, the turbine has a very compact design," he says, adding that average installation costs, including foundation, are about DEM 1.5 million.

A prototype has been in full operation since December 1997 at a site in Nettershem-Engelgau in the Eifel area of North Rhine Westphalia. The machine is owned by a private investor who received a DEM 400,000 grant for the project.

Wind World, which has been co-operating with Seewind on technology development since 1996, installed its own version of the turbine in Denmark two months ago and will have a second prototype testing in eastern Germany in May, Seewind reports. Seewind also says it will export wind turbines to the Caribbean and Poland this year. A single 110 kW turbine will be installed on Guadeloupe Island by August to supply power to a chicken farm and five 110 kW machines are to go to Darlow in Poland in July for electrical engineering company Energotel, based in Warsaw.

The Darlow project slipped into the German Eldorado support program for aiding renewables in developing countries just before it closed its doors in 1996, says Seel. Wind projects would otherwise be difficult in Poland, he adds, with payment for wind power at only about DEM 0.10/kWh, compared to the German rate of DEM 0.16/kWh.

The export projects follow the installation last year of five Seewind 110 kW units in Austria and a 110 kW turbine near Calais in France for a small commercial operation. The Calais project has sparked a special interest in France, where companies are keen to generate their own power instead of paying the usual high rates required of them, says Seel.

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