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This is the story of the first post World War II German wind power plant designed with modern aeronautical and control technology that, for a period of 20 years, operated in the estuary of the Elbe River. Except for Denmark and the Soviet Union, wind-powered electric generation on a major scale was not introduced in Western Europe until the 1970s. Therefore, the Insel Neuwerk plant can be considered to be a forerunner of the large-scale use of wind as an electrical power source. The Insel Neuwerk wind turbine unit was retired and dismantled some years ago. Today, its important role in the life of the island is but a memory for those old enough to remember the unit's construction and operation. But, for a score of years, the lighthouse beacon that the wind turbine helped illuminate bothguided ships to safe anchorage and heralded the advent of large-scale wind power development on Germany's North Sea coast.
Date of Publication: September-October 2009