Enercon says to launch world\'s biggest wind turbine
FRANKFURT - Germany\'s Enercon said it will launch a prototype of the world\'s biggest wind power generator mid-year, outstripping its nearest rival by almost a gigawatt (GW).
Privately owned Enercon is Germany\'s biggest wind turbine maker, covering 28.5 percent of the world\'s leading wind energy capacity market last year, and exports to 19 countries.
\"This summer we will erect the first prototype of the E-112, which has a 4.5 MW capacity and a 112-metre rotor length,\" Enercon spokesman Claus Pescha said.
\"That 4.5 MW is up from our first unit, the 55 kilowatt E-15 unit in 1985,\" he added.
According to the Federal Wind Energy Association (BWE), the next largest turbine to date is Enron Wind\'s 3.6 MW prototype. Enercon\'s next biggest unit is the 1.8 MW E-66.
The firm plans to launch an offshore E-112 prototype next year and complete the serial production of 10 machines in 2004. But though the E-112 is destined for offshore use the prototype will be operated first on land.
The firm will build an E-112 in Magdeburg, in the central German state of Saxony-Anhalt first and then a second turbine in Wilhelmshaven, in the northern state of Lower Saxony.
\"The E-112 is intended for offshore use, but we shall see if there is also a market for its onshore operation,\" Pescha said.
\"But the higher costs of transporting and installing such a large unit may mean that onshore producers will stay with the smaller turbines on the market,\" he added.
The growth of German offshore wind energy depends on investments not only in cables running out to sea, but also in enlarging the capacity of the onshore grid in northern Germany.
Four nuclear power plants will be closed in the northern region as part of the country\'s planned phase-out of all atomic energy by 2020.
German utilities E.ON
and HEW will close their Brunsbuettal, Stade, Kruemmel and Grohnde reactors, which together account of four GW of grid capacity in the area.
If Germany is to meet its target of having 25 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, then the network\'s capacity will have to be enlarged to manage that increased intake, Pescha said.
Enercon exported around 462 MW last year, or around a quarter of its total installed capacity of one GW, Pesche told the Management Circle Windkraft Symposium in Frankfurt earlier this week.
The firm has increased its installed capacity by more than 40 percent every year since 1993. By 2002 it had installed a total of 3.2 GW. It aims to increase that to 4.5 GW by year-end.
It had a turnover of 835 million euros in 2001.
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) expects worldwide installed wind energy capacity to grow to 60,000 MW by 2010 and to 150,000 MW by 2020, a jump from 24,000 MW in 2001.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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