Merkel opens German offshore wind farm

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Chancellor Angela Merkel inaugurated Germany's first commercial offshore wind farm on Monday, with 21 turbines set to supply electricity to more than 50,000 households.

The wind farm, 16 kilometres (10 miles) off Germany's northeastern Baltic coast, covers an area of around seven square kilometres (three square miles), with each Siemens-made turbine generating up to 2.3 megawatts (MW) of power.

"With offshore technology we are all charting new territory," Merkel's spokesman quoted her as saying. The chancellor flew over the wind park in a helicopter before the inauguration in the coastal village of Zingst.

"This is an important milestone in the use of German offshore wind power. Onshore, Germany was a pioneer in wind power and now it's important to tap rapidly the huge offshore potential," said Rene Umlauft from Siemens.

By 2030, wind farms with total capacity between 20,000 and 25,000 MW will be operating off the country's coasts and delivering "clean" electricity, the German industrial giant added.

© 2011 AFP

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