Sweden to build world's biggest windfarm

NORRBOTTEN, SWEDEN - Sweden could become home to the world's biggest land-based windfarm following a decision by a local government authority to approve the building of the 5 billion-euro ($6.8 billion) Markbygden windfarm.

Located off the northern coast of Sweden, Markbygden will boast 1,101 turbines covering 500 square kilometres. The project is being spearheaded by Markbygden Vind AB, which is 75% owned by the Swedish power group Svevind and 25% by German turbine manufacturer Enercon.

If successful, the win farm will be able to produce up to 12 terawatt-hours of energy every year, which represents more than half of Sweden's target for onshore wind and 8% of Sweden's total power needs. Sweden's overall goal is to derive 50% of its energy from renewables by 2020.

The Norrbotten local authority in northern Sweden has given the ambitious project the thumbs up, but the companies still have to get approval from the Swedish government.

"We hope to get a decision (from the Swedish government) during 2009," Svevind Chairman Wolfgang Kropp told Industrial Info Resources. "We have already started construction with a pilot project, and we will move ahead this year and next year."

Kropp said the project will use the Enercon E82 and E126 turbines, the latter standing 135 metres tall to the hub and classed as the world's tallest turbine. Rated at 6 megawatts, the E126 turbine has a rotor blade diameter of 126 metres. The first prototypes were deployed at some other test sites in Europe last year.

"We are very pleased with this decision," said Mikael Kyrkf, Chief Operating Officer at Svevind. "Now we hope for a quick decision from the government so that we can begin producing wind power in line with parliament's targets for renewable energy."

The windfarm will be located in sparsely populated land and will comprise turbines "no taller than 200 metres." The companies say that the land has "ideal wind conditions" and it is already crossed by three power lines, which will make transmission of power to the national grid a simple process.


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