Offshore, Project Development, Wind Power

Appeal of Wind Energy Grows in Europe

More than 1,000 delegates attended the annual wind energy conference earlier this month in Denmark.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, DK, 2001-07-17 [SolarAccess.com] More than 1,000 delegates attended the annual wind energy conference earlier this month in Denmark. The industry can expect a “wind rush,” says Jos Beurskens of the Netherlands Energy Research Foundation, as several large offshore windfarms are completed. The Horns Rev and Rodsand facilities in Denmark will each be 160 MW capacity and the Lillegrund offshore windfarm in Sweden will be 90 MW. The world’s current offshore leader, Middelgrunden, was commissioned last month in Copenhagen with 40 MW of capacity. “Under current projections of energy demand, wind power could account for 39 percent of the EU’s newly installed power generation capacity by 2010,” says Klaus Rave, president of the European Wind Energy Association and chairman of the conference. Wind power is the world’s fastest growing source of energy, with annual growth rates of 40 percent over the past seven years. Last year, wind power expanded by 3,500 MW of new capacity around the world. Germany is the world’s fastest growing market with 6,100 MW of installed capacity, which is sufficient to meet the power needs of four million homes. Wind energy is expanding in Spain where three-quarters of the technology is manufactured domestically, while Britain will accelerate development of offshore facilities by installing 1,300 2.5 MW turbines within the decade. France recently passed a law with a fixed price system for wind power which will expand the production from renewable energy sources. The conference noted that there is a re-emerging trend toward small wind turbines that are suitable in developing countries, agricultural areas and cold climate sites. “The development of wind energy so far has been linked to political will and the implementation of successful policies for the development of markets for wind power and wind energy technology,” says Vicky Pollard of EWEA in Brussels. Government support schemes are needed to develop renewable energy resources, and wind power in particular, because they compensate for the hidden social and environmental costs of conventional fuel sources. The European Parliament is close to approving a Directive on Electricity from Renewable Energy Sources, according to Mechtild Rothe, a member of Parliament in Strasbourg: The guidelines will accelerate development of electricity generated from solar, wind, hydro and biomass, and will help to harmonize renewable energy policy throughout member countries and reinforce investor confidence. Wind energy can sustain economic development, create jobs and reduce carbon emissions, according to Arthorous Zervos of EWEA. He says wind could displace 267 megatonnes a year of CO2 emissions by 2010, to help meet European targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent under the Kyoto Protocol. Currently, wind energy is expected to result in a 3.2 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2010. The conference was supported by the European Commission, Danish Energy Agency and Danish Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association. It presented the Poul la Cour Prize to the founders of Spanish turbine manufacturing company Ecotècnia. The award is named after Danish physicist Poul la Cour who built the first wind turbine for electricity production. Ecotècnia was founded in 1981 and, in 1999, initiated work on Spain’s first commercial windfarm at Tarifa. The 30 MW facility was the largest in Europe at that time, but Spain’s market for wind power market now is second in the world and Ecotècnia’s share of the domestic turbine market was 23 percent last year. Next April, EWEA will work with the American Wind Energy Association to host the 2002 Global Windpower Conference & Exhibition in Paris, and a second international conference is scheduled for Chicago in 2004. The conferences will replace existing regional conference (EWEC or Windpower) in efforts by the two groups to avoid an escalation in the number of exhibitions and additional costs for the industry. “The wind industry is now a global industry, and it is time for AWEA, EWEA and all wind associations around the world to be pursuing opportunities for closer collaboration,” says Randy Swisher of AWEA. “It is with this perspective that AWEA enthusiastically embraces the Global Wind Energy Conference.”