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Archive for the ‘Wind Energy’ Category

Germany seeks 5-fold increase in offshore wind power by 2040

June 03, 2020

BERLIN (AP) — The German government wants to increase offshore wind power capacity five-fold by 2040 as part of its plan to wean the country off fossil fuels. The Cabinet on Wednesday agreed on a bill that would set a goal of 40 Gigawatts of installed offshore wind power capacity in 20 years, from about 7.5 Gigawatts at present. It also raised the target for 2030 from 15 Gigawatts to 20.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said the new offshore wind target for 2030 would help Germany achieve its goal of meeting 65% of its gross electricity consumption with renewable energy in a decade. The longer-term target would provide businesses and coastal regions with planning certainty, he added.

Germany’s offshore wind generation is dwarfed by the number of turbines installed on land, which already have a combined capacity of 54 Gigawatts. Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she supports the goal of making Europe ‘climate neutral’ by 2050 to curb global warming. This ambitious target will require the world’s biggest economic bloc to phase out the use of fossil fuels.

Because renewable energy generated by wind and solar plants fluctuates depending on the weather, one proposal is to use excess electricity to produce hydrogen that can be easily stored, transported and burned without releasing greenhouse gases.

Wind Turbines Supplied 99% of Scotland Electricity Demand Last Month

Lorraine Chow

Nov. 07, 2017

Another month, another renewable energy record for Scotland.

Scottish wind turbines, propelled by Hurricane Ophelia’s strong winds, sent more than 1.7 million megawatt hours of electricity to the National Grid in October, according to WWF Scotland, citing data collected from WeatherEnergy.

Scotland’s total electricity consumption for homes, business and industry was around 1.75 million megawatt hours in October, meaning wind turbines alone generated 99 percent of the country’s electricity needs.

If we were just to look at households, wind power generated enough electricity for 4.5 million homes last month—that’s almost twice the number of actual households in Scotland.

“No one will be surprised that October proved to be a spectacular month for wind energy, with some high winds, including the tail end of Hurricane Ophelia,” WWF Scotland’s acting head of policy Gina Hanrahan told the Press Association.

“Fortunately our infrastructure coped well with the windy weather which provided enough to power nearly twice the number of households in Scotland and almost all of our electricity demand.”

Just this past Oct. 2, wind generated enough electricity to power 7.116 million homes, or about three times the number of Scottish households.

“We’re blown away by these figures but they are part of a pattern of increasingly green power production made possible thanks to many years of political support in Scotland. Across the year, renewables now contribute over half of our electricity needs,” WWF Scotland’s Director Sam Gardner said at the time.

But as Huffington Post UK pointed out, while these figures are impressive, the problem with so much wind energy is that all of it needs to be distributed so it does not go to waste. To solve this problem, perhaps Scotland can take a page from Germany, whose grid operators sometimes have to pay customers to take electricity off the grid because its renewable energy mix is generating so much power.

Another method would be ramping up the nascent grid-scale storage industry. The Scottish government is already trying this with its Hywind Scotland—the world’s first floating wind farm, which officially switched on last month. The farm is integrated with Statoil’s Batwind, a lithium battery that can store one megawatt-hour of power to help mitigate intermittency and optimize output.

While one megawatt-hour is not a lot—about the capacity of over 2 million iPhones—”it is the first step in a larger-scale rollout of battery solutions for renewable energy,” HuffPo UK noted.

As Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy said, “October was an extraordinary month and provides more evidence that greater investment in both renewables and storage is the way forward.”

Source: EcoWatch.


Scotland Sets Wind Record, Provides Enough Electricity for 3.3 Million Homes in March

True Activist

12 April

By Amanda Froelich

Slowly but surely, it is becoming fact that households and entire countries can run on clean, renewable energy. Costa Rica, for instance, ran on renewable energy sources for 285 days in 2015 and achieved similarly in 2016. Additionally, Denmark produced 160 percent of its energy needs in one day in July of 2015 via wind power.

Now it has been reported that Scottish turbines provided 1.2 million megawatt hours of electricity to the National Grid—enough energy to meet the electrical needs of 136 percent of households in the country (or ~3.3 million homes). What’s more, 58 percent of Scotland’s entire electricity needs were met for the entire month. The Independent reported that on March 17 and March 19, enough energy was generated to power Scotland’s total power needs for an entire day.

An analysis of WeatherEnergy data by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Scotland revealed that the amount of energy generated in March increased by a staggering 81 percent compared to the same month in 2016.

WWF Scotland’s director, Lang Banks, commented on the monumental achievement:

“Given this March wasn’t as windy as it has been in some previous years, this year’s record output shows the importance of continuing to increase capacity by building new wind farms.

“As well as helping to power our homes and businesses, wind power supports thousands of jobs and continues to play an important role in Scotland’s efforts to address global climate change by avoiding millions of tonnes of carbon emissions every year,” he added.

Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy added her insight:

“It’s massively impressive how Scotland has steadily grown its wind power output [over] the years. The total output from turbines this March was up more than four-fifths compared to the same period last year. This was enough power to provide the equivalent of the electrical needs of over three million homes. More importantly, it meant the equivalent of almost three-fifths of Scotland’s total electricity needs during March were met by onshore wind power.”

Now that Scotland has set an impressive new wind record, the WWF is calling on political parties to continue backing onshore wind power to help the country meet its carbon emission cut targets. One of the country’s goals is to deliver the equivalent of 50 percent of the energy required for Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2030.

Source: EcoWatch.


UAE’s Masdar to build $125-million wind farm in Oman

Abu Dhabi (AFP)

Oct 22, 2014

Abu Dhabi energy company Masdar said Wednesday it will build a 50-megawatt wind farm in neighboring Oman that will provide 16,000 homes with clean energy.

The $125-million project, the first large-scale wind farm in the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, would be constructed in the southwestern region of Dhofar, Masdar said in a statement.

Masdar signed a joint development agreement with Oman’s Rural Areas Electricity Company to build the farm, which would mitigate 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide yearly, it said.

Masdar is overseeing Abu Dhabi plans to generate seven percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.

It said last month it was partnering with Norwegian firms Statoil and Statkraft to build a multi-billion dollar offshore wind farm in Britain, big enough to power 410,000 homes.

The company already has a 20-percent stake in the 630-megawatt London Array project, the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

Abu Dhabi is the wealthiest of the seven sheikhdoms that make up the federation of the United Arab Emirates.

It sits on proven oil reserves totaling 98.2 billion barrels — 95 percent of the UAE’s reserves, which are the world’s seventh largest. It also has a large gas reserves.

Source: Wind Daily.


London signs off on two major wind farms

July 11, 2013

LONDON, July 11 (UPI) — The British government said Thursday it has created the right climate to attract major investors to its growing wind energy sector.

British Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the government gave its consent for the eventual construction of what he said would be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the Triton Knoll project. It represents a $5.6 billion investment and will generate 1,200 megawatts from its 288 turbines off the coast of Lincolnshire and Norfolk.

The Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in South Wales, meanwhile, represents a $509 million investment and will generate enough wind power to meet the annual demands of 140,000 homes. Davey gave the consent for the project’s construction, which should start next year.

“We have provided certainty early to onshore and offshore wind investors and now see significant investment decisions being made that will benefit the U.K.’s economy for years to come,” Davey said in a statement.

British officials have set a goal of getting 30 percent of the country’s electricity generated by renewable resources by 2020.

Davey in March said the government wants to give project developers the confidence they need to invest in the country’s low-carbon economy.

Source: United Press International (UPI).


Africa’s biggest wind farm opens in Ethiopia

27 Oct 2013

The $290m Ashegoda Wind Farm is expected to generate 120MW of electricity, easing Ethiopia’s dependence on hydropower.

Africa’s biggest wind farm has begun production in Ethiopia, aiding efforts to diversify electricity generation from hydropower plants and help the country become a major regional exporter of energy

Africa’s second most populous country – plagued by frequent blackouts – plans to boost generating capacity from 2,000 MW to 10,000 MW within the next three to five years.

Much of the increase would come from the 6,000 MW Grand Renaissance Dam under construction on the Nile.

The US $290m Ashegoda Wind Farm was built by French firm Vergnet SA with concessional loans from BNP Paribas and the French Development Agency (AFD).

The Ethiopian government covered 9 percent of the cost.

“Various studies have proved that there is potential to harness abundant wind energy resources in every region of Ethiopia. We cannot maintain growth without utilizing the energy sector,” Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said in a speech at the launch.

Experts put Ethiopia’s hydropower potential at around 45,000 MW and geothermal at 5,000 MW, while its wind power potential is believed to be Africa’s third-largest behind Egypt and Morocco.

Delayed completion

Groundbreaking for the Ashegoda Wind Farm was done in 2009 with completion set for 2011 but logistical constraints delayed its finish.

It is the second such project in the country after the 51 MW Adama I wind farm, which began production in 2011.

“Ethiopia might have one of the most impressive investment plans in renewable energy in Africa,” Vergnet’s site manager Roman Coutrot, said.

“It’s not only talking, they are acting and signing contracts. The problem they might face is financing but they are not worried about that,” he said.

The 84-turbine farm – straddling a sprawling field of grassland dotted by stone-brick hamlets more than 780km north of the capital Addis Ababa – is part of a plan to mitigate the impact of dry seasons on the country’s dams.

At present, Ethiopia’s energy resources are almost completely derived from hydropower projects.

“It compliments hydropower, which is seasonal. When you have a dry water season we have higher wind speed,” said Mihret Debebe, CEO of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation.

“There is harmony between the two sources of energy.”

Last week, Ethiopia also signed a preliminary agreement with a US-Icelandic firm for a $4 billion private sector investment intended to tap its vast geothermal power resources and produce 1,000 MW from steam.

Source: al-Jazeera.

New wind farm cleared for the Netherlands

June 20, 2013

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, June 20 (UPI) — European energy company RWE said Thursday it was cleared to build a 90 megawatt wind farm in the western Netherlands.

RWE said it was moving forward with plans to install 12 wind turbines that have a design capacity of 7.5 megawatts each. The company said the onshore turbines are the largest of their kind.

The Zuidwester wind farm is part of a larger wind project dubbed Noordoostpolder, which will consist of 86 turbines with a combined capacity of 429 MW. The company said the entire project would generate enough electricity to meet the annual energy demands of 400,000 households.

RWE said Thursday construction on the Zuidwester wind farm should start next year. It was cleared for construction by a regional council.

Members of the European Union are called on to increase the amount of renewable energy on their grids by 20 percent by 2020, based on a 1990s benchmark level.

The Global Wind Energy Council estimates wind energy could have 1,000 gigawatts worth of installed capacity by 2020 and cut emissions by 9 billion tons per year with the right policies in place.

Source: United Press International (UPI).


Wind power blows into Africa

Cape Town (AFP)

May 26, 2013

Giant turbines churning in the wind are a rare sight in Africa — but that will not be the case for long.

Until now the meager amounts of investment in African wind energy have predominantly come from governments and foreign donors.

But this is changing fast, say experts.

Private investors smell profit in beefing-up the continent’s over-stretched power grids and swarms of new wind turbines are soon expected to emerge.

If all plans on the table come to fruition, capacity will increase tenfold.

“When you look at the on-going and planned projects, you see actually over 50 percent of the projects being sponsored by the private sector,” said African Development Bank economist Emelly Mutambatsere.

Today wind makes up one percent of electricity production, or just 1.1 gigawatts.

But an additional 10.5 gigawatts is in the pipeline.

According to an African Development Bank study of 76 wind projects, two thirds are pending.

Liberalization of electricity markets has helped prise open the sluice gates for investment.

“The state still plays a big role in a lot of the countries,” Mutambatsere told AFP. “But a number of countries have liberalized to some extent.”

North Africa — including Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco — have led the way. But sub-Saharan Africa is catching up.

This year saw the first large commercial wind farm in the region come on line, a 52 megawatt project in Ethiopia.

Further south, the continent’s heaviest carbon emitter South Africa is a striking example of the sector’s growth.

The coal-rich nation –gunning for an extra 18 gigawatts of capacity from renewables such as wind — has opened power production projects to private bidders for the first time.

The first bidding round of 28 projects drew $5 billion in investments, according to the energy ministry.

“There’s a huge boom going on in South Africa in wind and renewables,” said South African Wind Energy Association CEO Johan van den Berg.

“South Africa previously had eight operative wind towers or turbines and there’s about 250 under construction at the moment.”

Last year, investment in South African renewable energy increased in excess of 20,000 percent, he said.

Meanwhile in Kenya the $815 million, 300 megawatt Lake Turkana Wind Power Project is hoping to break ground in November.

With wind flow of 11.8 meters per second the project is “a dream” according to chairman Carlo van Wageningen.

According to Richard Doyle of renewable energy consulting firm 3E, tough conditions in key green markets like Europe have played a role in the pivot to Africa.

So too, the healthy returns promised in developing markets.

“There’s been a veritable flood of companies out of their home markets in Europe into developing economies generally and Africa is one of those focal areas.”

However, he added that any “boom” tag had to be qualified by recognizing conditions elsewhere.

“If markets were less tight in Europe, would as many developers be in Africa? Almost certainly not,” he said.

And the Global Wind Energy Council secretary general Steve Sawyer says public financing will always play a role in smoothing out erratic investment flows.

However, he said, there was growing understanding among governments that “in order to create a sustainable energy system, a large degree of private investment is required”.

“That level of investment can only be achieved by creating the kind of policy environment which sufficiently reduces the risks to investors such that they are willing to do project finance,” he added.

With just 0.1 percent of the 2011 world market in Africa and the Middle East, the continent is still playing catch up.

Large-upfront costs mean wind is a long way away from overtaking dirtier but cheaper energy sources like coal and gas.

By 2030, wind is only expected to account for two percent of Africa’s power mix, according to the International Energy Agency.

Coal is set to remain king at 37 percent, followed by gas at 32 percent.

“It won’t become a dominant power source but it will become an important contributor to the energy mix,” said the bank’s Mutambatsere.

Source: Wind Daily.


Wales wind power line to go underground near historic village

April 29, 2013

MEIFOD, Wales, April 29 (UPI) — A controversial power line connecting onshore wind farms in Wales to England will be placed underground near a historic village, National Grid has announced.

The company said in a release last week it is bowing to one of the demands of residents fighting the 40-mile combination of more than 100 overhead pylons and underground cables — an effort to connect about 10 planned wind farms in scenic mid-Wales to the British grid via 400-kilovolt cables.

The British transmission system operator, which is still working on the final route through the region, revealed last Wednesday the lines would be placed underground around the village of Meifod in the Vyrnwy River valley, about 7 miles northwest of Welshpool.

Opposition to the power line was especially strong in and around the tiny village, which is revered as the burial place for several of the rulers and princes of the medieval kingdom of Powys and is held up as a prime example of the rugged, pre-industrial beauty of the Welsh countryside.

In making the announcement, National Grid’s Jeremy Lee also confirmed the Vyrnwy Valley is the preferred route of the line, while the nearby Peniarth Valley had been eliminated from consideration.

“We’re continuing to work on the best route for the connection. But it was becoming increasingly clear that construction challenges, such as the steepness of the valley, and environmental effects in the Peniarth Valley makes a route through the Vyrnwy Valley a better option to take forward,” he said.

“A section of underground cable in the more sensitive areas around the village of Meifod seems appropriate recognizing the beautiful landscape and rich cultural heritage,” Lee added.

The company is “committed to continuing to listen to local views as we develop the rest of our plans,” he said.

National Grid contends it is trying to strike a balance between Britain’s need to develop renewable energy sources and the concerns of those living along the route, who claim it will devastate the countryside and ruin the local tourism trade.

The 40-mile route, which would include 100 154-foot overhead pylons, would stretch from Cefn Coch in Montgomeryshire, Wales, through Llansantffraid near Welshpool to Lower Frankton in Shropshire, England.

Along the way it would traverse the scenic Powys uplands and the Vyrnwy Valley, which is popular with hikers, rock climbers, bicyclists and equestrians.

One of the biggest obstacles integrating more renewable power sources is connecting the scattered wind generation sources to the grid, which was built to serve single-source, fossil-fuel generating plants.

Some estimates have suggested Britain’s power network needs more than $300 billion in upgrades to connect up the new sources of energy.

The announcement of the Meifod and Vyrnwy Valley plans generated little enthusiasm from opponents.

“While I would like to see further details of (Wednesday’s) decision, the announcement comes as no surprise,” Montgomeryshire Welsh Assembly Member Russell George said.

“However, even though (the Peniarth Valley) route has been discounted, National Grid is still determined to press ahead with the connection project and destroy large areas of Montgomeryshire, in the face of community opposition.

“As far as I am concerned, there is absolutely no justification for this project to go ahead and I urge all communities in Montgomeryshire to remain resolute and united in their opposition of the entire project and maintain the campaign to get it stopped,” George said.

Source: United Press International (UPI).


Advanced wind turbine design eliminates need for environmentally-harmful rare earth metals, generates electricity at $0.04 per kWh

Thursday, September 22, 2011
by: Jonathan Benson

(NaturalNews) The bumbling, inefficient reputation of current wind energy technology just might get the game-changing overhaul it needs to become a viable form of clean energy production, thanks to a new permanent magnet generator (PMG) design created by Boulder Wind Power (BWP).

According to a recent report by Green Tech Media, the budding technology does not require the use of expensive, environmentally-damaging rare earth metals typically imported from China, and it also generates electricity at a lower cost than traditional coal-burning plants are able to do.

Most wind turbines in use today rely on complicated gearboxes that run at high temperatures, that wear out easily, and that are difficult and expensive to maintain. They also require the use of dysprosium, an expensive, rare-earth metal obtained from China, a country whose track record of environmental friendliness leaves much to be desired.

In other words, the lofty price of dysprosium, which can run as high as $2,000 per kilo (2.2 pounds), combined with the frequent need to maintain and replace a slew of intricate turbine parts, has made current wind energy production technologies inadequate and unable to compete in the energy market apart from government subsidization.

The PMG design, however, eliminates the gear-driven system, which BWP describes as “a bunch of very high precision, high quality steel parts in a gear box,” with a direct drive system that is “basically one big moving part.” And since this single part relies on neodymium, which is one-twentieth the price of dysprosium, and mined in California using an environmentally-friendly extraction process, its potential to replace current wind energy technologies is essentially a given.

But the biggest reason why the PMG wind design is sure to take off is that it actually produces energy for less than both current wind energy technologies and traditional coal technologies do. With the capacity to produce energy at a cost of roughly $0.04 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), without government subsidization, PMG’s economic viability alone is enough to eventually propel it to the forefront of the clean energy market.

“We’re not inventing new science,” said BWP CEO Sandy Butterfield. “We don’t expect the rotor to change. We don’t expect the tower to change. The nacelle — everything between the tower and the rotor — will have significant changes. But it’s all mechanical engineering.”

Source: NaturalNews.

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