Four megawatt scale prototypes go up -- Getting bigger and bigger

Upscaling of turbines in Germany is proceeding apace with the installation of no less than four multi-megawatt prototypes in the last three months of the year -- Repower's 5 MW turbine, Prokon Nord's 5 MW Multibrid, a further Enercon 4.5 MW prototype, and a 2.5 MW from Fuhrländer.

Repower completed installation of its turbine near the Brunsbüttel nuclear power station last month. Commissioning is due before the end of the year. The turbine, currently the largest operating in the world, has a rotor diameter of 126 metres and is expected to generate an annual 17 GWh, enough for about 4500 three-person families in northern Europe. "This project puts us considerably ahead of our competitors," says Repower chairman Fritz Vahrenholt.

In the same few days, Enova Energieanlagen of Bunderhee and regional electricity company EWE also completed their installation of an Enercon 4.5 MW turbine at a site 40 metres offshore, close to the port of Emden. Three other 4.5 MW machines have already been installed on land. The companies expected to commission the near-shore turbine "within a few weeks." With high average wind speeds of 8.5 m/s at hub height and blades that are 53 metres long, the turbine is expected to generate about 15 GWh a year.

Meanwhile, Multibrid, part of the Prokon Nord Group in Leer, intends to install its first 5 MW prototype at an onshore site north of Bremerhaven within the next few weeks, with commissioning due before the end of the year. Work on preparing the site and pouring the foundation began at the end of August. The model is destined for use offshore in Prokon Nord's pilot station, Borkum West, in 2006. The machine started its life at Pfleiderer Wind Energy before Pfleiderer sold its offshore wind activities to Prokon Nord.

In Fuhrländer's factory in Waigandshain, testing of its prototype 2.5 MW is underway. The machine is designed by Wind2Energy (W2E), an engineering company owned by ex-Nordex engineers and turbine tower company Seeba Energiesysteme. In February the first prototype will probably be installed on a 160 metre lattice tower built by Seeba at a site near Cottbus in Brandenburg. A second prototype, to be installed on a standard 117 metre lattice tower, is planned for a site near Fienstorf in Mecklenburg Vorpommern.

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