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Brussels, 25 November 2009

Commissioner Piebalgs participates in the inauguration of a state-of-the-art Wind Farm in Belgium

Energy commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, together with Belgian authorities, inaugurated today in Estinnes, near Mons, Belgium, the world's first wind park with giant 7MW wind turbines, a state-of-the art European technology achievement. The project for the development of the world's most powerful wind turbine today was co-financed by the European Commission with up to € 3.3Million from the 7th Framework Programme. "Estinnes is a milestone on our ambitious road to sustainable energy. All those having worked hard to bring this project forward should take pride today in their achievements, and take courage for the work ahead", said Commissioner Piebalgs after the inauguration.

This 7MW ENERCON E-126 wind turbine is not only the largest turbine ever put into operation in the world but it is also said to be the most efficient. For a wind park equipped with such turbines the utilization factor expressed in MW/km² increases by a factor 2,3 compared to applying state-of-the-art 2 MW class wind energy converters. To install this machine 198m high the world's largest crawler crane was used, this is a 1.600 t crane, which was developed and constructed especially to lift the giant 127 m diameter rotor in one step.

This E-126 wind turbine comprises the most advanced power electronics in use in the wind sector and is able to provide grid stabilising ancillary services which before were reserved for conventional power plants. This project will be the largest and highest capacity wind park in the world that delivers services where power electronics have been incorporated in the wind turbines themselves. This innovative adoption of power control-electronics contributes to improving not only the performance of the wind energy converter but also the power system stability (regulation of active power, voltage, frequency and reactive power in both normal and emergency situations).

These new capabilities are a significant and indispensable feature to allow for a higher penetration of wind power into the European power systems.

The European Commission is committed to support the wind industry in achieving its 2020 target and namely to install a total wind power capacity of 180 GW.

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