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DONG to buy big Siemens wind turbines for UK
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark's DONG Energy DOENRY.UL has agreed to buy 300 giant offshore wind turbines from Germany's Siemens (SIEGn.DE) for UK wind parks, marking a step forward in efforts to put ever larger units out at sea to boost renewable power output.
The deal is for Siemens' 6-megawatt turbine, a huge new model for offshore installations, which now is being tested in prototype in Denmark and for which DONG Energy is the German engineering group's first customer.
Siemens said in the statement the deal would help it to optimize production of the 6 MW turbine and strengthen its market position as a supplier of offshore wind turbines
DONG gave no value for the deal which is for turbines with total capacity of 1,800 MW, but as a rule of thumb wind turbines cost around 1 million euros ($1.23 million) per MW of capacity.
In terms of capacity, the agreement matches a March 2009 deal between DONG and Siemens for up to 500 offshore turbines of 3.6 MW each, which was the world's biggest deal of its kind at that time, DONG Energy said.
DONG Energy's acting chief executive Carsten Krogsgaard Thomsen called the agreement an important step for the growing wind industry and said it would help make offshore wind more competitive.
"The agreement will enable DONG Energy to install a significantly larger turbine from 2014 compared to the turbines, we know today," Thomsen said in the statement.
So far the biggest turbine in service at several DONG Energy wind farms is the Siemens 3.6 MW, though DONG has said it will install two of the 6 MW units at its Gunfleet Sands offshore wind farm in the UK later this year.
The units to be deployed at Gunfleet Sands will be the first Siemens 6 MW turbines in operation at a real wind park.
"The turbines will be installed at selected DONG Energy offshore wind farms in the UK in the period 2014-2017," the Danish company said in the statement.
Offshore wind installations typically cost two to two and a half times as much to build as onshore wind parks, but strong wind out at sea can help make offshore turbines yield up to 40 percent more energy than units on land.
The new Siemens 6 MW turbine is designed for offshore conditions with a 154-metre (505 feet) rotor. Siemens is also developing a 10 MW unit.
Under the new deal, DONG Energy is committed to pay a fee in case of cancellation of projects under the agreement, DONG said.
DONG Energy and Siemens Energy are now working on projects with total capacity of about 2.0 GW under construction at Lincs, London Array and West of Duddon Sands in the UK, Borkum Riffgrund 1 in Germany and Anholt offshore wind farm in Denmark.
Under the new deal, Siemens Energy will design, manufacture, supply, install and service the 6 MW wind turbines, DONG said.
"Offshore wind energy has huge potential," Michael Suess, member of the managing board at Siemens AG and CEO of the Energy Sector, said in the statement. "The UK, Denmark and Germany, in particular, are counting on the future of offshore wind energy." ($1 = 0.8154 euros)
(Reporting by John Acher, editing by William Hardy)
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