Massive wind farm planned for the North Sea

German state of Schleswig Holstein backs project for 1,200MW capacity farm by 2005

The German state of Schleswig Holstein has backed a plan to build Europe's largest ever wind farm in the coastal North Sea, ENDS Daily has learned. Rated at 1,200MW and scheduled to be completed by 2005, the farm would be comparable in scale with the largest conventional nuclear or coal-fired power stations. It would also mark a dramatic kick-start for offshore wind power - the only commercial offshore wind parks currently in existence are in Danish waters and have a collective capacity of just 11MW. Costed at euros 51m (DM1bn), the park would cover an estimated 200 square kilometres of the North Sea near Helgoland. The group of private investors behind the scheme says it hopes to start building an initial 100 4-5MW turbines in 2001, and have the entire 1,200MW in place by 2005. Other offshore wind farms are planned for Lower Saxony and for two sites on the Baltic coast but the Helgoland scheme is the largest and furthest advanced, a state energy ministry official told ENDS Daily. He cautioned, however, that some technical problems as well as issues arising from site being near a national marine park still have to be resolved. Industry sources also expressed doubts about whether construction of such a large scheme to such a timetable is feasible given the present state of the wind turbine manufacturing industry.

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