Top Five Wind Energy Successes Today

Wind energy at the moment is by the apparent numbers less expensive than solar, and huge wind farms are being opened throughout the world. There is good news on this front from Denmark, Germany, and some other places.

1. Denmark has just opened its largest wind farm. Denmark gets a third of its electricity from wind and expects that proportion to rise to 50% by 2020. The new installation all by itself will generate nearly 1/20th of Denmark’s power needs.

Blurb:

Queen Margrethe II has just opened the largest Danish offshore wind farm. 400 megawatts from Kattegat. Enough power to cover four percent of Danish electricity demand. 111 Siemens wind turbines, and a five-year service contract. Construction and installation in only 262 days. All this on budget and on schedule. An example of excellent project management and a large-scale project in the home country of Siemens Wind Power.

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2. Germany has also opened its largest offshore wind farm , aimed at allowing the country to get away from nuclear power by 2022. It looks as though Angela Merkel will comfortably be reelected as Chancellor today, and this was her government’s initiative. Even if she has to form a coalition with left-liberals, they are also committed to green energy. Three is little doubt that she’ll get it connected to the grid in short order.

3. The 300 megawatt Turkana wind farm in Kenya is finally going ahead. The project is expected to increase the number of Kenyans with access to electricity, and to lower prices for those already connected to the grid. An enormous underground aquifer has also recently been discovered in Turkana.

Kenya TV reports

4. South Africa’s Metrowind is constructing a 29-megawatt farm in the Eastern Cape with Chinese help:

CCTV reports:

5. General Electric is helping India develop wind turbines suited to the Indian environment:

7 Responses

  1. Some more info on the German wind farm: It is called Bard Offshore, and consists of 80 big turbines of 5 MW for a total of 400 MW. The capex for the farm is 2.9 billion euro. The application to build the farm was entered in 2004 and the offshore construction started in March 2010.

    link to 4coffshore.com

    The remaining German nuclear power (nine reactors) now stands at 12,000 MW with twice the capacity factor of wind, which means Germany only needs some 60 new offshore farms of a similar size to replace its nuclear power. The capex for this would amount to close to 180 billion euro, or €20 billion ($27 billion) per reactor replaced.

    But the really big challenge comes later, when Germany is to replace its 50,000 MW coal and lignite generation.

    • Since the wind turbines are getting significantly bigger, more efficient and cheaper by the year, the challenge gets easier as time goes on. Your cost figures for a project begun in 2004 become ridiculous if used now. And 5 years from now they will be even more absurd. Same of solar panels, where something like Moore’s law has begun to operate and they are rapidly falling in price and increasing in efficiency. As the market expands it will create more and more efficiencies and R&D will be better funded. Arguing for the next decade from figures such as you presented is at the best a form of anachronism and at worst a form of trolling.

      • The cost figures couldn’t be more fresh – the construction started in 2010 and was finished this summer. Wind turbine sizes has been lingering at a sweet spot for many years now, with 2.3-3 MW for onshore and 3-5 MW for offshore. (One reason is that the mass of a turbine is proportional to the cube of the blade length, whereas the wind power intercepted is proportional to the square of the blade length.)

        Wind turbines’ efficiencies are clearly close to optimum and there are diminishing returns on R&D. Admittedly, big costs savings might still be had in offshore, for example if technology were developed to allow floating turbines to be deployed with ease.

        Yes, I wanted to put your numbers in context, and the reason is that I’m very worried that there is no real urgency in our action to prevent climate change. I feel that overly positive reports of what actually amounts to “too little, too late” serve to promote complacency and to prevent effective action.

        Germany’s plan is to rid themselves of coal until 2050. That plan is universally hailed for being ambitious, courageous and fast. However, the projected costs and planned reductions in electricity generation make it doubtful that they will have the stamina to push through. Also, according to the plan, they will make virtually no progress until some time after 2022, since they will use the new renewables to close the remaining nine reactors until then. Where is the urgency?

  2. Thanks for finally adding in Denmark.

    Thanks Joe for the link.

    In my area of Calli the Safeway warehouse has 2 wind mills and the local gravel pit/ road construction companies installed 1.

  3. Meanwhile, the Solar Roadways people are putting the finishing touches on their solar parking lot test bed:

    link to facebook.com

    Just replacing currently paved roads with Solar Road panels would, in the US alone, generate enough power to run the globe three times over. (And that’s assuming only 4 hours of usable sunlight per day.)

    Go check them out here: http://www.solarroadways.com

    They may be what saves us all.

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