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Three killed in offshore wind farm construction
Photo: DPA

Three killed in offshore wind farm construction

Published: 22 Apr 2012 12:29 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Apr 2012 12:29 GMT+02:00

Building offshore wind parks can be a deadly occupation. Three construction workers have already drowned whilst working on German projects in the North and Baltic Seas. 80 serious accidents have been registered, it was reported Sunday.

A total of three men, including a Polish worker and a Swedish diver have already lost their lives whilst working on offshore wind farms 120 kilometres off the East Frisian coast near Emden, reported the online edition of the Focus magazine on Sunday.

Both workers drowned while working on the BardOffshore wind farm.

Leader of the German Central Command for Maritime Emergencies Hans Werner Monsees told the magazine that only “a better and tighter rescue system” would prevent the number of deaths and serious injuries from rising over the next year.

Construction of the wind farms requires sinking five-hundred-tonne tripods to the sea floor at a depth of 20 to 40 metres (65 to 130 feet) to support giant wind turbines.

The turbines then stand 100 metres high with rotor spans of equal dimension, taller and wider than London's St. Paul cathedral.

German plans for massive expansion of offshore wind power have been slowed because of very strict planning rules, which have only allowed turbines to set up in deep waters.

In the North Sea, this has made everything more difficult, from setting up the turbines to connecting them to the grid.

By 2030 Germany wants offshore wind power to provide 25,000 megawatts of power, the equivalent of 20 nuclear reactors.

Three offshore wind farms are currently operating in German waters, while some 20 more have been granted planning permission. A further 20 are planned.

In the coming years up to 7000 new offshore wind turbines will be installed off the German coastline, which will necessitate around 1600 new construction employees and engineers in 2012 alone.

DPA/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

20:46 April 22, 2012 by billslycat
What makes this loss of human life even more tragic is that INDUSTRIAL WIND TURBINES DO NOT PROVIDE CLEAN ENERGY and do nothing to mitigate climate change! Not one coal or gas plant the world over has been decommissioned because of IWTs...and eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels is their whole purpose. To quote an expert: ¦quot;Because wind blows intermittently, electric utilities must either keep their conventional power plants running all the time to make sure the lights don¦#39;t go dark, or continually ramp up and down the output from conventional coal-or gas-fired generators (called ¦quot;cycling¦quot;). But coal-fired and gas-fired generators are designed to run continuously, and if they don¦#39;t, fuel consumption and emissions generally increase.¦quot; This is happening worldwide, and proves that wind energy is a sham technology. Just Google ¦quot;wind turbines do not reduce CO2¦quot; to learn more. The only opposition links will be from wind industry lobbying interests, and those will offer only claims, no proof. The wind industry is built on crony capitalism, it is the only way it can exist. Taxpayer money builds them and power companies are mandated to buy wind generated power at much higher rates than conventionally produced power. There is no true benefit, except to wind power companies, politicians and lobbyists.
03:06 April 23, 2012 by Illogicbuster
Morons. Wind is NOT a viable source of Base load electricity. It is MUCH more expensive than nuc, natural gas, hydro, coal, et al. What has happened to the once, engineering minded Germany. Has everyone lost their marbles?
04:18 April 24, 2012 by billslycat
This is incorrect: "By 2030 Germany wants offshore wind power to provide 25,000 megawatts of power, the equivalent of 20 nuclear reactors." If this ever really happens, 25,000 MW will be the nameplate capacity of the wind turbines....the most that they will be capable of producing in 100% ideal wind conditions. In reality, few wind installations exceed 20% of capacity over the course of the year. Plus, nukes provide steady power, while wind turbines produce at the whims of the winds. Without constant backup from fossil fuel plants, wind turbines would be useless. Energy efficiency....insulation for all buildings, LED lighting, modernizing the existing grid, etc...would be much more effective than adding wind installations to the grid, plus add real jobs while keeping rates low. However, crony industrialists would no longer be able to feed off of the taxpayers. Wind energy is a sham first brought to market in a major way by Enron. Enron understood that wind turbines on the grid would ensure that fossil fuel plants would be needed to generate power in tandem with wind, so they could profit from both forms of electric generation. When Enron went bust they sold Enron wind to GE and the con game grew.
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