Wind Energy

Briefly Noted … Worldwide Renewable Energy News

– Authorities in Germany have approved the country’s first offshore windfarm, to be sited in the North Sea, 45 km northwest of Borkum. Prokon Nord will invest 250 million marks (US$115.2 million) to install 12 turbines in the first phase, expanding to a total of 200 turbines. – The Ministry of Defence in Britain wants to stop a number of offshore wind projects in various regions because of fears that turbine blades could interfere with air defence radar systems or for proximity to testing grounds for low-flying military jets. The government has made off-shore wind generation a top priority and the Defence objections may threaten the national target of generating 10 percent of electricity from renewables by 2010. Germany, Spain and Denmark have developed more wind power than Britain without compromising defence systems, according to U.K. wind power companies. – Nuon, the Dutch energy company which recently took over Spanish wind energy producer Desa, says wind energy is an extremely lucrative business. Director Dirk Kooman says a 50 MW windfarm costs Fl 125 million and generates 100 million kWh, with annual revenue of Fl 20 million. The turbines last 20 years and operating costs are very low, which means that good profits are possible. Nuon wants to invest Fl 1.5 billion in wind and small-scale hydropower in the next four years. – Switzerland wants to increase its use of wind power by 20 times before the end of the decade. Rapid expansion will be encouraged through construction of a few large windfarms to be built on polluted areas. Switzerland has only 5 MW of wind capacity, partly due to its alpine landscape that does not offer prime wind regimes found along sea coasts. – Scottish & Southern Energy will allocate £450 million to renovate its small hydro dams and to build new windfarms. The work will use government subsidies that will encourage 10 percent of power from electricity suppliers to come from renewable sources next year. – Four hundred delegates from 190 companies attended the annual conference of the British Wind Energy Association held last month in Brighton. The trade show sold out within three weeks, and bookings are in place for next years event. Britain has had its most successful year for new wind capacity installation, and 120 MW is confirmed for construction next year with an additional 750 MW submitted for planning over the next year. If approved, Britain will have 2005 MW of wind capacity in place by 2005. Currently, there are 878 grid-connected turbines in Britain, generating 422 MW of electricity. Wind power currently prevents the emission of 950,000 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere each year. The Renewables Obligation that will be implemented next year, will require electricity suppliers to source 10 percent of their supply from renewable energy by 2010. Onshore and offshore wind is expected to meet half of that target and will avoid the emission of 14.4 megatonne of carbon. Britain has 40 percent of the total wind resource in Europe. – The American Wind Energy Association has commended the chairman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry committee, Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), for including provisions on renewable energy in his proposed 2002 Federal Farm Bill. The bill includes a series of proposals aimed at encouraging farmers and ranchers to develop wind and biomass energy projects on their lands. AWEA says the result of the provisions, if adopted, would foster economic development in communities, diversify farm income by providing new energy ‘cash crops’ to supplement traditional crops, bolster national energy security by supporting domestic energy sources, and iImprove environmental quality by displacing emissions of greenhouse gases. AWEA says wind energy can provide 6% of U.S. electricity by the year 2020, or three-quarters of what hydropower currently supplies.
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