Saturday, September 6, 2014

UK continues to lead global offshore wind development

The United Kingdom leads the world in offshore wind energy development. In 2013, UK offshore wind energy sector increased yet again, and it is estimated that UK now covers 52% of global offshore wind energy market.

In the last seven years, from 2006-2013 offshore wind power installed capacity increased by 42%. The most recent estimates suggest another growth of 16% by 2020.

The value of UK offshore wind energy market is rapidly growing. The current investments of around £2 billion is set to increase to £5 billion in 2020.

Offshore wind technologies are becoming more and more proven though costs are still twice the amount of their onshore counterparts.

Siemens is the UK's market’s leader for global offshore wind turbine cumulative installations, by being practically responsible for almost all new country's installations in 2013.

Wind energy is one of the top energy sources in United Kingdom, accounting for approximately 22% of total UK's electricity in August 2013. If everything goes according to a plan, offshore wind energy could become major renewable energy source that would be of great help in achieving UK's renewable energy targets.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How cost-competitive is wind energy?

The opponents of wind energy, and renewable energy in general for that matter, often claim that wind energy lacks cost-competitiveness with fossil fuels. Somewhere this might well be true, but not in Denmark where wind energy will soon become the cheapest source of electricity in the country.

The recent government report claims that in 2016, when new wind turbines become operational, wind power will become the cheapest source of electricity in the country, with approximately one half of what coal and natural gas cost.

On the long run, this could even spell the total end of coal and natural gas use in Denmark because the major reason why these energy sources remain big players in the market is their price, and if wind power can maintain its low price for years to come, then there won't be need for these polluting energy sources.

Wind power will soon provide one third of country's electricity with the current share being around 28%. There is a growing number of energy analysts who believe that Denmark could even become a fossil fuel-free country in years to come and be fully powered by renewable energy.

The finances are major reason that keeps fossil fuels alive, this together with intermittency of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. If renewable energy sources really become cost-competitive in all corners of the world, the science will do the rest in terms of intermittency, and renewable energy could become dominant energy source.

This example from Denmark shows that wind power can have no obstacles in terms of costs. For the majority of countries coal and natural gas are still cheaper energy options compared to wind, but with the right development wind could very soon become cost competitive on global scale too.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Interesting trivia about wind energy

People started harnessing wind energy a long time ago. In fact, ancient Egyptians used wind energy to propel the sails of their boats on the Nile River some 5000 years B.C.

US has enormous wind energy potential. If the country was to transform all of its untapped wind energy potential into electricity it would be enough to power the entire country tenfold.

US is together with China the world's largest wind energy producer. Wind energy currently supplies electricity to around 15 million US homes, and the total installed capacity is bigger than 60,000 MW.

US is also becoming major wind turbine manufacturer. In the last three years, three quarters of total turbine equipment used for new wind farms in US were made in US. Manufacturing sector, of course, creates new, well paid jobs.

The top speeds that can be reached by blades on modern wind turbines climb above 200 miles per hour.

The share of wind energy in global electricity usage is still negligible, at around 3% of total electricity usage coming from wind turbines. There is still rapid growth though, because 20 years ago wind energy generated less than 0,1 % of total global electricity.

Wind energy can also be harnessed offshore. Large offshore wind farms are already spreading in many countries of the world, most notably Great Britain and Denmark.

Wind energy is an intermittent energy source because wind doesn't blow all the time. This means that there has to be an adequate energy storage solution to cover the time when there isn't enough wind to move turbines.

Wind energy is one of the most cost-competitive clean energy sources.

Though wind turbines have been reported to kill birds, the environmental damage done by wind turbines is negligible compared to damage to our environment that is being done by fossil fuels, in form of climate change, loss of biodiversity and pollution.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why is wind power popular in United States?

Wind power is not just popular in United States because of its "clean energy" tag though of course replacing fossil fuels fired plants with wind turbines helps offset harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Wind power is also a major economic factor in almost all of US states, the one that gives economy push to further develop in form of new investments and of course new jobs. It has been reported that US wind power industry supported approximately $25 billion in private investment last year.

As already mentioned above, wind industry creates new well paid jobs. The latest reports suggest that there are currently more than 80,000 people in United States directly employed by the US wind power industry.

In 44 out of 50 US states there is at least one wind manufacturing facility, meaning that not everything connected with wind turbines comes from China, as some still believe, but on the contrary that US wind power industry is also focusing on domestic manufacturing.

The states that have significant share of wind power in their energy portfolio have ripped many benefits, the most important being lower electricity prices.

Wind power costs are constantly dropping as wind is becoming increasingly competitive with fossil fuels, in fact in the last four years wind power prices have declined by approximately 43%.

Having said all this, it comes to a very little surprise that plenty of Americans support wind energy and want to see more of it in years to come. The latest poll conducted by Navigant research showed that 72% of Americans support wind energy. There is a good chance that Production tax credit as well as Investment tax credit will soon be extended.

Production Tax Credit and the Investment Tax Credit
Production Tax Credit and the Investment Tax Credit


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Offshore wind energy in Britain in numbers

Britain leads the way in offshore wind energy development on global scale by accounting for more than half of total global offshore wind installations, 3,689 megawatts, as compared to world's total of 6,930 megawatts.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change estimates that country will reach 10 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2020.

In order to achieve this goal, offshore wind industry will have to significantly cut its costs,  and the British government has already set a goal of reducing the costs to 100 pounds ($167) a megawatt-hour by 2020, from the current 147 pounds. Taking into account current state of development and environmental issues that will ahve to be taken care off in the process, this goal looks difficult to achieve. Of course, offshore wind industry is still industry in its nascent phase so there is certainly a plenty of room for improvement.

The future costs will be difficult to decrease because new offshore wind energy projects tend to be further from shore and in deeper waters which increases construction costs. Even US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz recently said that offshore wind projects still remain too expensive.

UK's government has already set the incentives for offshore wind through 2019, with the hope to stimulate clean-energy jobs and give economy a boost.

In the last three months British utilities have canceled as much as 5,760 megawatts of planned offshore wind capacity.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Can wind become top energy source in the country? Denmark says yes it can.

Wind energy capacity is rapidly growing in many countries of the world, even despite some major drawbacks of using wind energy, most notably the intermittency of wind energy. The country where wind has taken the position of No.1 energy source is Denmark, where in December 2013, wind energy accounted for 55% of all energy consumed in the country. There still hasn't been any similar report elsewhere in the world meaning that Denmark is the first country that has broken the 50% threshold over an entire month.

Denmark has rather long history of wind energy use, and is today one of the world's largest offshore wind energy markets. Denmark was a pioneer in the sense of wind power commercialization, back in 1970s. Denmark is also one of the largest wind turbine producers in the world.

The last month of the 2013 was characterized by the frequent high winds which caused the output for Danish wind farms to be greater than normal, and there was also lower consumption by industries since many of them were closed over the Christmas period. These two factors have of course affected the total percentage but nonetheless wind has really proved its worth in Denmark as the top energy source.

The largest wind energy project in 2013 was the 400MW Anholt offshore wind farm, and Danes are looking forward to adding more wind power to the grid. Their goal is to generate at least 50% of its energy from wind by 2020 (on yearly base).

The country has very large offshore wind resources while land resources are pretty much average so further addition of more wind farms will likely continue to take place offshore.

Denmark also plans to be 100% renewable by the 2050. Judging by the rapid growth of wind energy installations and the new solutions in wind energy storage technologies this goal looks fairly achievable for the Danes.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How important is wind energy for the US economy?

Wind energy industry is second fastest growing clean energy industry in the United States, behind the solar energy industry. Wind energy is rapidly developing in many US states, with Texas currently leading the way. United States also plans to focus more on offshore wind energy in years to come.

The rapid wind energy development has played major role in the US economy in the last couple of years. In the year 2012, wind power was for the first time in US history, a number one source of newly generated electricity in the country, meaning that wind turbines installed across the United States in 2012, provided more electricity than any other source of power generation.

The addition of 13 gigawatts of new capacity made wind the year’s leader in newly installed capacity with a 42 percent share by taking the leader position from natural gas. In 2012, United States ended the year with 45,100 wind turbines that can power 15.2 million average US homes.

The year 2012 was remarkable for US wind energy industry because of record-setting $25 billion in private investment that was added to the U.S. economy in new wind farm construction, a 28% increase in comparison to 2011. Wind energy industry provided around 80,000 jobs in United States in 2012.

There are currently around 560 factories across the United States that provide parts for wind turbines as well as offering other services for wind energy industry in general. It has been reported that in the last 8 years wind industry has brought more than $105 billion of private investment into the US economy.

There will soon be new reports for the US wind energy industry, and how well it fared in 2013. So far, everything indicates that 2013 will be yet another excellent year for the US wind energy industry. The utility interest for wind energy isn't stopping, in fact it looks to be stronger than ever.