Wind Wire: Going strong again

Germany commissioned 401 turbines for 802 MW during the first six months of 2009, bringing the country's wind capacity to 24.69 GW from 20,674 turbines.

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Around 2 GW of new capacity is expected online this year in total, says German wind energy association Bundesverband Windenergie (BWE). If achieved, it will be 300 MW more than installed in either 2007 or 2008. BWE president Hermann Albers forecasts 2.5 GW of new capacity additions in 2010.

Municipal energy utility Rheinenergie, based in Cologne, has entered the wind sector, buying a portfolio of 19 wind farms across Germany with a combined capacity of 100 MW. The projects were sold by Natenco, the German subsidiary of troubled French renewables company Theolia. Rheinenergie says it now has the largest operating wind portfolio of all of Germany's 500 or so municipal utilities. Its aim is to increase its generating capacity, currently around 670 MW of coal and gas-fired plant, and cover a significant share with renewables.

Theolia has been forced to sell off its wind assets to raise money (Windpower Monthly, March 2009). Of the wind capacity going to Rheinenergie, around 80 MW is in operation, with the balance of the 101 MW due for commissioning this year. Rheinenergie is Germany's sixth largest energy company in terms of electricity sales, after the big four, E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall Europe, plus major regional company EWE.

One of Germany's biggest energy companies, EnBW, is strengthening its wind energy activities through a 50:50 joint venture with wind developer Altus, based in Karlsruhe. The new venture, EnBW Altus Projektentwicklungsgesellschaft, has six wind projects in the pipeline for a combined capacity of up to 150 MW in the states of Baden-Wurttemberg, Rheinland-Pfalz and Brandenburg.

The partners will develop them to the point where they are ready to build. Altus is responsible for project development, while EnBW takes care of procurement. Some of the projects are destined for forested areas, building on Altus' experience in the Black Forest with its 28 MW Windpark Nordschwarzwald, the largest wind station in the state.

EnBW has first option to buy projects developed to the point of construction in the period 2010-2011. It made a first splash in the wind sector in May last year with the purchase of 1179 MW of offshore projects: Baltic 1 (48.3 MW) and Kriegers Flak 1 (328.6 MW) in the Baltic Sea and Hochseewindpark Nordsee and "He dreiht," in the North Sea, each rated at 400 MW.

In April, it announced Siemens would supply the turbines for Baltic 1, rather than Nordex as previously envisaged. A separate deal was agreed with Nordex for general supply of its 2.5 MW units for onshore projects. The arrangement could see Nordex chosen as a supplier to the new joint venture. EnBW stepped up its onshore wind portfolio to 80 MW in February by buying three wind stations (52 MW) using Vestas turbines from PNE Wind. The joint venture with Altus could bring its onshore wind capacity to 230 MW.

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