UK 'could reap $11bn offshore'
If the UK manages to build 10GW-15GW of offshore wind by 2020 it will reach a “tipping point”, triggering a dramatic spike in the economic value the industry brings to Britain, a new report claims.
Greater Gabbard is one of a quartet of UK offshore projects that came on line last year

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.

Stuttgart University tests natural fibre wind turbine blades
Composites Evolution’s Biotex Flax has been used to manufacture natural fibre reinforced turbine blades for a rooftop wind turbine at the University of Stuttgart
Stuttgart University tests natural fibre wind turbine blades

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.

Vestas wins order for German community wind farm
Vestas has received a firm and unconditional order for 72.6 MW from BWP Eider GmbH & Co. KG for their citizen-owned wind power plant in northern Germany 
Vestas wins order for German community wind farm
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.
The contract comprises supply, installation and commissioning of 22 V112-3.3MW turbines along with a Vestas online business SCADA solution and a 15-year full-scope service agreement. The wind farm will produce more than 190GWh per year, enough green energy to power more than 49,000 German four-person households.

“With 700 local residents investing, this power plant is a successful example for a democratic change in the energy mix” said Marcus Alexander Rolfs and Gerald Grimmer, Managing Directors of the Eider wind power plant. “We are confident that Vestas will be an excellent partner. We are impressed by Vestas’ quick supply, installation and commissioning, and convinced by the advanced technology and high performance of the V112-3.3 MW turbine. With its efficient full converter technology, it fulfils even the highest grid requirements.” 
Hans Vestergaard, Senior Vice President Sales of Vestas Central Europe, added that the wind farm is a lighthouse project which demonstrates the potential and competitiveness of wind energy solutions, particularly with regard to citizen-owned projects which represent a strong source of support for wind power in northern Germany.

As of 31 December 2013, Vestas has delivered 937 V112-3.0 MW turbines worldwide representing a total capacity of more than 2.8 GW, and has received more than 5 GW of firm orders for this model.
AREVA and Schneider Electric join forces to develop offshore wind power in France
AREVA has selected Schneider Electric as its preferred supplier of power equipment for its offshore wind projects.

AREVA and Schneider Electric join forces to develop offshore wind power in France

This includes in particular the wind farm of 100 5 MW turbines in the bay of Saint Brieuc off the coast of Brittany and the current tenders for the offshore wind farms at Le Tréport off the coast of Haute-Normandie and the islands of Yeu and Noirmoutier in Pays de la Loire (France).
Developed as part of the offshore wind call for tender program launched by the French government in 2011, these wind farms will not only contribute to France meeting its targets laid down in the EU's Climate and Energy Package, but also firmly establish a French sector of excellence for a promising technology.

"Schneider Electric is delighted to be designated as AREVA’s preferred technology partner for their offshore wind projects. The combination of expertise offered by our two companies proves highly promising for the rapid establishment of a leading French sector of excellence in offshore wind,” said Frédéric Abbal, executive vice president, Schneider Electric's energy business.

Under the terms of the agreement signed by the two groups, Schneider Electric will supply transformers and circuit breakers for AREVA's wind farms. These components will be manufactured at two of Schneider Electric's French industrial sites, located near Metz and Grenoble.
"This agreement with Schneider Electric further underscores our commitment to developing a complete industrial sector in France, providing job creation opportunities and harnessing our local expertise,” said Louis-François Durret, CEO of AREVA Renewables.
Alstom seeks to improve and expand offshore wind turbine offering
Partnership established with Freyssinet to enhance Alstom's ability to provide higher towers to serve less windy sites.

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. 
Following measurements taken over a 2-month period on an initial ECO122 unit installed in Wieringermeer, Netherlands, the power curve of the wind turbine was measured and certified by ECN, providing tangible evidence of the machine’s efficiency, according to Alstom. The company has announced that the ECO122 model is now available in 3.0MW model, which will have a 6% higher yield than the 2.7MW version. According to Alstom, the high capacity factor combined with the turbine’s significant rated power make the turbine ideally suited for low to medium winds.
“By consistently investing in innovative wind turbines, we strive to ensure a better use of wind resources and a higher yield, regardless of wind characteristics," said Laurent Carme, Alstom’s vice president of platform & product wind onshore. "The new steps achieved today will help us to continue to provide our customers with more flexible and ever more efficient solutions."
Vestas Back On Top as Wind Turbine Installions Leader
 A turnaround story, a sluggish U.S market, and a surge in China cause a big shakeup in the ranks of wind turbine manufacturers, as compiled by new analyst reports.

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.
Similar new data from GlobalData also puts Vestas on top, followed by Enercon, Goldwind, Siemens, and Suzlon, with GE and Gamesa falling out of the top 5. A similar wind energy market share update from Nagivant/BTM should be coming any day to further fill out the picture.
Being back in the top spot is the culmination of a two-year turnaround at Vestas, one in which the company shed 12 factories and nearly a third of its workforce, but erased 900 million euros in debt and close to a billion euros in annual losses. Business is so good in North America, in fact, that the companyplans to hire another 450 workers in its Colorado factories to supply projects in the U.S. and Canada -- that's in addition to the 400 new workers it's been hiring there since January. (These positions "are considered temporary with the opportunity to be hired as regular Vestas employees," the company clarifies.) Vestas says it has enough contracts in hand to project 2.6 GW of turbine sales in the U.S. and Canada this year. "We are going to be extremely busy making blades, nacelles and towers this year through at least 2015," stated Chris Brown, president of the company's domestic sales and service division.
GE snatched the top spot in 2012 due to its heavy reliance on the then-robust U.S. market, which was experiencing a rush to qualify for the set-to-expire production tax credit (PTC). The 11th-hour extension of the PTC ultimately sent the U.S. wind sector into hibernation for the first six months of the 2013 and hampered GE's performance in the competitive rankings. Getting midyear clarification in the PTC language to allow plants under construction to qualify sparked major investments in wind development, which should boost the U.S. market once again in 2014 -- AWEA currently tracks more than 12 GW of new generating capacity under construction as of the end of 2013, nearly 11 GW of that activity starting construction in the fourth quarter alone.
The ascendance of Goldwind reflects China's commitment to adding a great deal more wind power. The nation added roughly 16 GW of new wind capacity, according to the China Wind Energy Association. China's wind targets remain very aggressive, seeking 200 GW of cumulative installed capacity by 2020. Getting it all grid-connected is proving to be a major challenge, though, requiring new infrastructure investments and market reforms to decentralize and speed up planning and permitting.
Deploy wind to save water, EU told
Replacing Europe’s coal, gas and nuclear power stations with wind is key in the fight to conserve precious water resources and hedge against future power shortages caused by water-dependent electricity production, a new study claims.
Cooling nuclear stations uses huge amounts of water

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.