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Germany opens Baltic Sea’s largest wind park

Here are three things to know about the Arkona wind park ahead of the political festivities.

Baltic's largest wind park

Arkona's 60 turbines tower out of the Baltic between the German island of
Rügen and the Swedish shoreline to the north.

Erected in just three months last year, they are already supplying 385 megawatts of electricity — enough for around 400,000 family homes.

SEE ALSO: Renewable energy production in Germany reaches new high

French energy provider Engie has signed a contract to buy electricity for
four years from operator OWP Arkona, a joint venture between Germany's Eon and Norway's Equinor.

Electricity will be routed through a French-built substation whose 150
kilometres of cables link up the wind generators.

Engineers affectionately dubbed the hardware "the multi-socket adaptor"
after the familiar household gadget.

Tuesday's political inauguration with Merkel, French energy transition
minister Francois de Rugy and his Norwegian counterpart Kjell Borge Freiberg is a signal of cooperation just weeks before European Parliament elections.

'Energy transition' on back foot?

Germany had long been seen as a pioneer in the switch to renewable
energies, but Merkel's 2011 decision to exit nuclear generation after the
Fukushima disaster knocked the country back.

Rather than emissions-free fission plugging the gaps left by variable
output from wind and sun, Berlin has had to fall back on intensely polluting
brown coal and other fossil sources.

Viewing the Arkona wind park by boat. Photo: DPA

Today, renewables account for 38 percent of Germany's energy mix, and are
slated to hit 65 percent by 2030.

"In 2025, we will be well above the 40 to 45 percent target for renewable
energy in Germany," Merkel said in her weekly video podcast Saturday.

But the federal government has missed its targets in the past, giving up
last year a goal to reduce greenhouse emissions 40 percent compared with 1990 levels by 2020.

SEE ALSO: Is Germany the green leader it's hyped up to be?

On land, Germany's much-lauded "Energiewende" (energy transition) policy is
struggling, with subsidies for wind turbines on the way out and the cost of
transmitting electricity to consumers high.

One kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs 30 euro cents, or twice as much as in
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