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The research initiative RAVE (research at alpha ventus) accompanies the construction and operation of the „alpha ventus“ test site, to attain a broad basis of experience and expertise for future offshore wind parks. RAVE is sponsored by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety (BMU) following a resolution by the German Parliament and is co-ordinated by Fraunhofer IWES. It unites research activities from industry e.g. turbine manufacturers and multidisciplinary academia know how. Up to now more than 30 projects are contributing for the further development of wind energy utilisation at sea.