In December the government published its Electricity Market Reform “delivery plan”, outlining two scenarios for the end of the year 2020 – in which the UK has either 8GW or 15GW of installed offshore wind capacity.
The difference in the economic benefits the two scenarios would bring to Britain is enormous, according to the new report, published by the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.
With 15GW in place by the end of 2020, and all the right policy chips in place, the offshore wind sector will have delivered some £6.7bn ($11.1bn) of “Gross Value Add” (GVA) to the UK economy, along with 34,000 direct jobs.
By contrast, with 8GW in place, and offshore wind still facing a variety of headwinds, the industry will have delivered a GVA of just £2.3bn – and created less than 12,000 direct jobs.
The report predicts that that even under the modest 8GW scenario, the UK will still have attracted one turbine assembly plant. Under the 15GW scenario, however, the UK is likely to have wooed a second factory.
Regardless of how much capacity the country builds by the end of the decade, it is not manufacturing but rather operations and maintenance that will make the biggest long-term contribution to the UK economy, the report claims.
“When the growth in new installed capacity ultimately slows, an increasing proportion of the total expenditure will be operational,” it says.
“The accumulation of knowhow in the effective operation and maintenance of assets will provide an exportable service industry similar to that achieved by the oil and gas industry over recent decades.”
The Glasgow-based Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult was one of seven such “catapults” established by the UK government in 2012 to help the UK cement a leadership position in fields like future cities, the connected digital economy and satellite applications.
The blades were conceived, designed and manufactured by the Stuttgart University’s Endowed Chair of Wind Energy (SWE) after having discovered that Biotex Flax delivered the performance characteristics they were looking for. The team began designing the new blades in 2011 focusing on improving the reliability of turbines while reducing production costs. The aim was to design a new set of blades for the university’s 1kW rooftop wind turbine.
Following a visit to the UK’s Eden Project, the team also wanted to concentrate on manufacturing blades with natural fibres and contacted Composites Evolution with the aim of testing the company’s Biotex materials. These were subsequently tested with different resins, alongside a range of other natural fibres, to validate their performance characteristics. Biotex Flax, which incorporates a unique twistless technology, was found to be the superior material.
The new blade consists of Biotex Flax 2x2 twill 400gsm as the main shell and Biotex Flax unidirectional 275gsm used for the blade’s belt and root. It was built in two halves, both of which were hand-laminated before being vacuum-bagged in two female moulds. The two separate halves were then joined using Momentive’s RIM 235 epoxy resin.
Upon completion the blades were assembled on to the rooftop turbine for performance testing. SWE plans to conduct other tests in order to validate the blades strength performance compared to blades constructed from other materials. A fourth blade was embedded with strain gauges and the team will be comparing the results to standard carbon and glass blades.
The blade will be presented at JEC Europe in Paris, 11th-13th March.
The wind turbines will be installed in the Eider region in Schleswig-Holstein with delivery of the turbines expected to start in the third quarter of 2014 and commissioning in the fourth quarter.
Alstom's partnership with Freyssinet aims to develop a 119-metre concrete tower specifically designed for its ECO122 wind turbine. This new tower will be made of 11 concrete sections, the lowest measuring 7.20 metres in diameter, for the base of the structure. Coupled with the MOU agreement previously signed with Max Bögl Wind AG3, to develop a 139-metre tower of hybrid design featuring a concrete bottom section and a steel top section, this new partnership gives Alstom the ability to offer its customers two high tower options for its ECO 122, suited to harness the stronger winds found at high altitude.
Vestas, the longtime number-one turbine maker which was dethroned in 2012 by GE, has retaken the top spot with just over 13 percent market share. Surging up the ranks for the No.2 spot in Make's list is China's Goldwind (just over 10 percent), illustrating the big rebound in China's wind market in 2012. Enercon (10 percent) and Siemens (8 percent) round out the top five grouping. Rounding out the top 10 were GE and Gamesa which slid to 6-7, followed by United Power, Minyang, and Nordex, just eking out XEMC and Envision.
A European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) report, Saving Water with Wind Energy, shows that thermal and nuclear generation uses around 44% of Europe’s total water resources, primarily as a cooling agent.
This water is calculated to be equivalent to the average annual household water use of 82 million European citizens — roughly the population of Germany.
“Every summer thousands of Europeans face hosepipe bans, while water equivalent to over three Olympic-size swimming pools is consumed every minute to cool Europe’s nuclear, coal and gas plants,” says EWEA environment and planning analyst Angeliki Koulouri.
“Wind turbines use no water, and this report shows the enormous difference to Europe’s precious water supply that wind energy can make.”
The report recommends that the EU drastically reduce water consumption from the electricity sector in three ways:
Encouraging greater water efficiency and taking this into account when designing energy policies.
Setting binding renewables targets for 2030 while moving away from water-intensive technologies such as thermal power plants to technologies such as wind, which use virtually no water.
Promoting the adequate pricing of water usage and consumption.
The report finds that wind energy avoided the use of 1.2 billion cubic metres of water in 2012 — equivalent to the average annual household usage of almost 22 million citizens.
EWEA calculates that in 2030 the avoided costs of water use through increased wind energy deployment could amount to between €11.8bn and €17.4bn ($16.2bn-23.9bn) that year.
According to an OECD report, 40% of the world’s population will face severe “water stress” conditions by 2050. Increasing demand and pollution will worsen water security in many regions.
The European Commission says at least 11% of Europe’s population had been affected by water scarcity by 2007, with the cost of droughts on the continent put at about €100bn over the past 30 years.