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Three killed in offshore wind farm construction

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Three killed in offshore wind farm construction
Photo: DPA
12:29 CEST+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

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