Norway plans the world's most powerful wind turbine

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Norway plans to build the world's most powerful wind turbine, hoping the new technology will increase the profitability of costly offhsore wind farms, partners behind the project said Friday.

With a rotor diametre of 145 metres (475 feet), the 10-megawatt protype will be roughly three times more powerful than ordinary wind turbines currently in place, Enova, a public agency owned by Norway's petroleum and oil industry ministry, said.

The world's largest wind turbine, 162.5 metres (533 feet) tall, will be built by Norwegian company Sway with the objective of developing a technology that will result in higher energy generation for offshore wind power.

It will first be tested on land in Oeygarden, southwestern Norway, for two years.

The gain in power over current turbines will be obtained partly by reducing the weight and the number of moving parts in the turbine.

According to the NTB news agency, the prototype will cost 400 million kroner to build and could supply power to 2,000 homes.

"We are aiming to install it in 2011," Enova's head of new technology Kjell Olav Skoelsvik told AFP.

Enova pledged 137 million Norwegian kroner (17 million euros, 23 million dollars) to build the prototype.

"It is milestone in the efforts to develop the future's wind power," Norway's energy minister Terje Riis-Johansen said in a statement.

Environmental groups have been highly critical of Norway's government for not having invested enough in wind power.

The Scandinavian country is one of the world's top oil and gas producers but obtains most of its own energy through hydroelectric power.

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