German utility goes Dutch

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German energy group RWE's dedicated renewables company, RWE Innogy, has joined forces with energy sales company RWE Energy Nederland to submit proposals to the Dutch authorities to build at least two major offshore wind stations with a total installed capacity of 2 GW. While the German company is now active in the offshore wind power markets of both Britain and the Netherlands, it has yet to register an interest in its home waters.

RWE expects initial licences for the projects in the Dutch North Sea to be granted within two or three years. The first location, named Tromp, is earmarked for an 1150 MW wind power station, 64 kilometres off the coast of IJmuiden in North Holland where the water depth is about 26 metres. It will not be visible from shore.

The companies don't yet reveal details of the second site. RWE Innogy states that the Netherlands projects form "part of our European renewable energy expansion plans, on which the group has committed to spend about EUR 1 billion a year."

Illustrating the seriousness of its intentions, RWE Innogy has already taken steps to secure at least some of the wind turbines it will need for the projects. Last month it announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Germany's Repower Systems "for negotiation of framework agreements" for delivery of wind turbines for up to 1.9 GW of installed capacity.

The agreement is for 250 offshore turbines rated at 5 MW or 6 MW each and about 200 Repower 2 MW turbines. Assuming the agreements are wrapped up by the end of the year at the latest, as RWE envisages, delivery will be over a timeframe of four to six years from the beginning of 2010. RWE Innogy adds it is currently "negotiating similar agreements with other market leaders."

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