FANTANELE, Romania — A wind energy unit in Romania expected to become the biggest in Europe next year has begun producing electricity, an official said Wednesday.
"Twenty-one turbines are functioning by now. They are connected one by one to the national electricity network", project manager Ondrej Safar told reporters on the site, in Fantanele near the Black Sea.
Every windmill in the unit, run by the Czech electricity company, has a capacity of 2.5 megawatts, he added.
A hundred and thirty nine turbines are to be installed on the Fantanele site and 101 to another location nearby.
The 1.1-billion-euro (1.45-billion-dollar) wind energy farm will have a capacity of 600 megawatts and will be completed before the end of 2011, Safar said.
Romania currently produces barely 14 megawatts of wind power, while its potential stands at 14,000 megawatts, according to several studies.
Apart from the Czech windmill project, Spain's Iberdrola has announced plans to build the world's biggest onshore wind farm in southeastern Romania. The 1,600-megawatt project should be ready in 2017.
Other major groups like Romania's Petrom (OMV) and Italy's Enel also plan to invest in wind-power generation in this country.