Americans buy Swedish offshore wind project

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An offshore wind farm project in Swedish waters is now in American ownership. The developer, Vindkompaniet, has sold the project to Tacke Windenergie, the German wind subsidiary of American power giant Enron. The planned wind farm, off the east coast of Sweden at Utgrund, in Kalmar Sound, is the second to be developed offshore by Vindkompaniet.

"Since development costs are about five times higher offshore than on land, we needed a partner that was prepared to share the financial risks," says the company's Jonas Dahlstrom. Tacke, he adds, was the most eager of several companies to become involved in a pilot offshore project. It will be Tacke's first offshore involvement.

Tacke has bought the whole project, but Vindkompaniet will continue to work on its development, liasing with Mikael Jacobsen of Tacke, a Swedish national employed previously by Zond in California, another Enron company.

The prospects for the project look good. Building permission has been granted and the coastal authority gave its permission on December 23. The regional planning authority for Kalmar is making positive noises and its final approval was expected last month. Seven 1.4 MW Tacke turbines will be installed at Utgrund, with a total capacity of 9.8 MW. The turbines will have a tower of 65 metres and a 70 metre rotor, making a tip to toe height of 100 metres. The site is eight kilometres from Öland and ten kilometres from the mainland, making the turbines barely visible from land.

The offshore adaptations to the turbines include placement of the transformer inside the tower and the installation of cranes in the nacelle to enable replacement of parts without an external crane. The turbines will likely be mounted on monopiles and a sea cable will connect the wind plant with Öland at Degerhamn. Construction work is to start in April, with commissioning scheduled by the end of September.

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