Elsam dinosaur dynamited

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Five kilos of dynamite were used to fell one of the dinosaurs of wind power on August 15 -- the 2 MW research turbine at Tjærborg, near Esbjerg in the west of Denmark, designed owned and operated by utility Elsam. The dramatic demolition of not only a local landmark, but also an historic symbol of wind turbine technology development, was watched by a crowd of interested onlookers.

The huge 775 tonne machine with its 60 metre rotor span was erected on a 56 metre concrete tower in 1988 with support from the Danish government and the EU under its program for development of megawatt scale wind power technology. During the turbine's 46,000 hours of operation over 13 years it produced 31.7 million kWh and a wealth of technical data made available to the whole industry. A generator fire last year brought the machine to a halt and it has not been restarted. Elsam deemed that it was too expensive to repair.

Elsam is replacing the turbine next month with a Vestas 2 MW turbine, the same model the utility will be installing next year at Horns Rev in the world's first large and truly offshore wind power station. The hub height, however, will be kept at 60 metres compared with the 70 metres planned for Horns Rev. The Vestas 2 MW turbine weighs 258 tonnes. Elsam predicts annual production will be about 5.5 million kWh.

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