Once up and running the two machines will not only be tested against each other, but also against an Enercon 1.5 MW unit, being installed nearby by a private operator. The Windtest centre at Kaiser Wilhelm Koog will monitor the turbines.
Windpark Westküste is owned 50% by utility Schleswag, 20% by Hamburg utility HEW, and 30% by several district councils as well as the Schleswig-Holstein state. It already operates a number of different turbines at its site. The 1.5 MW units are expected to generate for about DEM 0.12/kWh, approaching the price utilities pay independent industrial producers -- DEM 0.08-0.10/kWh.
With an eye on the world market, the aim of the Westküste wind farm is to improve wind turbines for weak grids, says Nimz. In Germany the aim is to generate as many kilowatt hours from the wind as possible, but in other countries it may be expedient for a 500 kW unit to operate at 300 kW for 6000 hours a year rather than at 500 kW for just 2000 hours. "This is the sort of thing we need to experiment with," he says. "Meantime we want to become involved with Joint Implementation developments as this may solve the problem of lack of finance in developing countries." Joint Implementation (JI), a United Nations initiative, gives rich countries the option to make their emission cuts in poorer ones. The perceived advantage is that it can be cheaper to make cuts in the Third World than in the West. "When JI gets off the ground in about five years time, there will be precious few wind sites left in Germany. So we need to be ready with wind systems optimised for the new markets," claims Nimz.