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Environment

Denmark showcases world-biggest offshore wind park

ESBJERG, Denmark (Reuters) - Denmark on Thursday inaugurated the world’s biggest offshore wind farm in time to serve as a showcase of its green technological prowess before a global climate conference in Copenhagen in December.

CEO of DONG Energy Anders Eldrup speaks at the official opening ceremony for the world's largest offshore wind farm, in Esbjerg September 17, 2009. The 91-turbine Horns Rev 2 wind farm off the west coast of Jutland in the North Sea will generate enough electricity for 200,000 Danish households. REUTERS/Bob Strong

The 91-turbine Horns Rev 2 wind farm off the west coast of Jutland in the North Sea will generate enough electricity for 200,000 Danish households.

“Horns Rev 2 is an important step in our energy policy,” Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told guests gathered for the opening ceremony in the west coast town of Esbjerg.

“It’s our ambition that Denmark will be a green growth laboratory,” Rasmussen said after he joined Crown Prince Frederik in inaugurating the park on its offshore platform.

World leaders will meet in the Danish capital on December 7-19 to try to hammer out a new global climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2012.

Denmark, which gets a fifth of its electricity production from wind, aims for an ambitious treaty in Copenhagen and hopes the conference will boost its environmental technology industry.

“Given that we are hosting the COP15 (climate) meeting in December, this is also a strong signal to the world that investments in renewable energy can go hand in hand with growth and economic development,” Rasmussen told Reuters.

“I’m totally convinced it can have a political impact,” said Rasmussen, who last week visited India where he said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was working to bring electricity to 100 million Indians without access to power.

“His (Singh’s) first priority is to fight poverty and to bring electricity to more people and to do it in a sustainable way, and for that reason it is good to have showcases,” Rasmussen said.

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The climate talks have stalled over how to share the burden of curbing greenhouse gases between rich and poor nations and on aid to help the poor shift to greener technologies such as solar or wind power.

Rasmussen said there was enormous potential for “green development” and added: “You need cases like this to prove - not only to political leaders but also to their voters and inhabitants - that it is possible to build a bridge between the climate change agenda and bringing prosperity to people.”

The 209-megawatt Horns Rev 2 development by state-owned DONG Energy is the offshore wind farm situated furthest out to sea, 30 kilometers off the coast, northwest of Esbjerg.

The 3.5 billion crowns ($694 million) wind park overtakes another Denmark installation, the 166-MW Nysted wind farm -- also DONG Energy’s -- as the world’s biggest offshore wind park.

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But it will be superseded by the 630-MW London Array wind park in the Thames Estuary once that comes on stream in time for the London Olympics in 2012.

The wind park, consisting of 13 parallel rows of seven turbines each that spread out fan-like, is the world’s first to have an offshore accommodation platform that can house up to 24 workers. Plans call for it to be manned year-round.

The turbines are from Siemens and rise to a total height of 114.5 meters above sea level. An additional 30-40 meters are below the surface. Each has a capacity of 2.3 megawatts, and the blade diameter is 93 meters.

Current from the turbines goes by buried cables to a transformer on the platform from where the electricity is brought ashore by a subsea cable.

If a new U.N. climate pact imposes tough emissions cuts, wind power stands to benefit as countries will be forced to turn increasingly to non-carbon renewable energy sources.

Editing by James Jukwey

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