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Sweden set to break wind farm record

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Sweden set to break wind farm record
17:16 CEST+02:00
Sweden looks likely to play host to Europe's largest wind farm after a northern county gave its seal of approval to a major new energy project.

If the Swedish government gives its green light as well, a total of 1,101 wind turbines will be built in northern Sweden at an estimated cost of 55 billion kronor ($6.9 billion), the Norrbotten county administrative board said in a statement.

Its environmental assessment delegation recommended that the government give the Swedish company Markbygden Vind AB a permit for the project. Stockholm is expected to announce its decision within the next 12 months.

"This would be Europe's, if not the world's, biggest wind farm," Caj Noren, a spokesman for the board, told AFP.

Construction could begin in two-and-a-half years and would be completed after about a decade, Noren said.

The wind farm would be located in Markbygden, west of the northern town of Piteå, in an area measuring about 450 square kilometres (175 square miles).

If and when the wind farm is fully operational, it would produce a total of eight to 12 terawatt hours per year.

The Markbygden project alone could thereby generate enough energy to meet Sweden's 2015 national wind power target of 10 terawatt hours per year. A terawatt is equal to one trillion watts.

The turbines would have a maximum height of 200 metres (650 feet), according to the plans.

Markbygden Vind AB is owned 75 percent by the Swedish group Svevind Holding and 25 percent by German group Enercon, one of the world's biggest wind turbine makers.

No contract has been signed yet for the construction of the turbines.

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