Wind Energy Can Lead Europe in 2030

According to a new report from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), wind power can exceed gas, coal and other forms of energy by 2030 if European member states follow the ambitious policy framework put in place through 2030.

EWEA Report - Aiming HighThe report finds total wind installations in Europe could reach 392GW with 294GW of onshore and 98GW of offshore wind. Today, Europe’s 128.8GW can meet 10 percent of European power consumption in a normal wind year. Giles Dickson, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association, noted wind power can be the foundation of the European energy system within the next 15 years.

The report outlines a number of policy priorities that need to be addressed including the development of national renewable energy action plans for member states; streamlining national permitting procedures; proposing legislation for well-functioning energy markets and driving reform of the Emissions Trading System. Should these policies be implemented the report finds the measures will result in a net gain of EUR13 billion, the equivalent of the EU’s funding for transport infrastructure over the next 5 years. The wind industry would also support up to 366,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“Wind power makes economic sense. But policymakers must demonstrate more determination than is on show today,” said Dickson. “Wind power can deliver economic growth in Europe by boosting investments, creating jobs and reducing electricity bills. A new market design, a reformed ETS and rigorous accountability on 2030 targets are essential if these goals are to be achieved.”

“Already onshore wind is cheaper than any form of new power generation. Last year wind power installed more than gas and coal combined in the EU. Europe’s energy and economic transition is underway.” Dickson added, “Now politicians must decide whether to accelerate this transition or drag their heels, which would damage investments and job creation.”

Researchers Develop New Offshore Wind Prototype

Two researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya’s (UPC) Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering have developed a new model for floating structures designed for offshore wind turbines anchored in deep, deep waters. Climent Molins’ and Alexis Campos’ prototype, WindCrete, is a cylindrical structure with a large float and ballast base that enables the platforms to be self-stabilizing.

offshore wind prototypeThe researchers say the main innovation of this model compared to similar ones already on the market are seamless, monolithic structure and the use of concrete for its construction. This model uses concrete instead of steel, which is more expensive, and thus reduces costs by an estimated 60 percent, according to Molins and Campos. The researchers also say the concrete is more resistant in the marine environment, and as a result, the structure has fewer maintenance requirements and a lifespan of approximately 50 years. The structure is also absence of joints and this increases its durability against the effects of wind and sea avoids the damage that typically appears in transition areas.

The researchers explain that the WindCrete includes a 5 MW wind turbine that can carry rotors of up to 15 MW with only an incremental cost. This new system reduces the cost of wind energy to 12 cents per kilowatt hour. According to Molins and Campos, this is half the price per kWh for this type of energy in the Canary Island, an area that will rely on offshore wind power.

The prototype was developed within the framework of the European project Alternative floating offshore substructure for offshore wind farms, which is carried out in the framework of KIC-InnoEnergy in collaboration with Stuttgart Wind Energy at the University of Stuttgart and Gas Natural Fenosa. A preliminary design was carried out to ensure technical and economic feasibility.

Dong Opens Offshore Wind Farm

DONG Energy and LEGO Group along with William Demant, have opened BorkumRiffgrund 1, an offshore wind project expected to power more than 320,000 homes. The wind farm was officially commissioned by His Royal Highness, Prince Joachim of Denmark.

Offshore-Windpark Borkum Riffgrund 1 / Borkum Riffgrund1 offshore wind farm

Offshore-Windpark Borkum Riffgrund 1 / Borkum Riffgrund1 offshore wind farm

Thomas Thune Andersen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of DONG Energy said during the opening event, “BorkumRiffgrund 1 is our first operational project in Germany and I’m very satisfied with the fact that we can now harvest the fruits of the investment we have put into this project. I’m also very pleased with the confidence that our joint venture partners have shown us by investing in this project.”

He continued, “Our journey in Germany is far from over: We are currently building another two offshore wind projects and have a number of other projects in our pipeline that will allow us to demonstrate the skills and competences we have gained and will allow us to continue to show the trust we have in the German offshore wind market.”

The wind project consists of 78 wind turbines each with a power of 4 MW. The wind farm is located 37 kilometres north of the German island Borkum and 54 kilometres from the German coast. Thus, BorkumRiffgrund 1 contributes considerably to the aim of the German government to install a total of 6.5 GW of offshore wind energy until the year 2020. Almost 3 GW have been installed in the German North and Baltic Sea so far.

Interior to Auction 344,000 Offshore Acres

The U.S. Department of Interior has announced the auction of 344,000 offshore acres off the coast of New Jersey for development of offshore wind projects. The lease sale will take place on November 9, 2015. Should the area be fully capitalized, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates at least 3,400 MW of wind power could be developed.

NJ-offshore wind energy MAP“On the heels of this summer’s historic ‘steel-in-the-water’ milestone for the nation’s first commercial offshore wind farm, today’s announcement marks another major step in standing up a sustainable offshore wind program for Atlantic coast communities,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “This effort took significant engagement and cooperation with New Jersey and other stakeholders to advance clean energy development and reduce potential use conflicts, which moves us closer to harnessing the enormous potential of wind energy along the Atlantic coast.”

To date, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has awarded nine commercial offshore wind leases, including seven through the competitive lease sale process (two in an area offshore Rhode Island-Massachusetts, another two offshore Massachusetts, two offshore Maryland and one offshore Virginia). These lease sales have generated about $14.5 million in winning bids for more than 700,000 acres in federal waters.

BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper said of the efforts to expand offshore wind in the U.S., “We are pleased to see sustained commercial interest in offshore wind development. We will continue to work closely with members of the New Jersey Renewable Energy Task Force to ensure that our intergovernmental partners remain informed on the next steps proposed by the winners of this auction.”

The New Jersey Wind Energy Area starts about seven nautical miles from shore. Click here to view a map of the Wind Energy Area.

Block Island Wind Farm Has Steel in Water

The American wind energy industry along with Rhode Island state legislators and others celebrated what Deepwater Wind is calling a “historic moment” for the offshore wind industry as the first “steel in the water” milestone was met this week for the Block Island Wind Farm. This marks the installation of the first offshore wind farm foundation component – a 400-ton steel jacket on the sea floor – by Weeks Marine and Mason Construction. The site is located roughly three miles off the Block Island coast.

On hand for the ceremony were Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Abigail Ross Hopper, the state’s Congressional delegation, and more than a hundred other elected officials, leaders of national environmental advocacy organizations, federal and state regulators, Block Islanders and project supporters to celebrate the milestone where guests took a ferry tour of the offshore construction site.


Block Island – Photo Credit: Coastal News Today

“Rhode Island is proud to be home to the nation’s first offshore wind farm – a great opportunity for our state to stake out real leadership in this growing industry,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “Not only are we going to create over 300 good-paying jobs, but we’re going to rebrand ourselves as being more innovative and, over time, make Rhode Island a place that has a more diversified energy supply and greener energy. I’m committed to supporting this progress with a comprehensive jobs plan focused on making it easier to do business in Rhode Island and making sure we are training the workforce today to support the innovations of tomorrow.”

Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski noted, “We know the world is watching closely what we do here, and we’re incredibly proud to be at the forefront of a new American clean-tech industry launching right here in the Ocean State. This moment has been years in the making – and it’s just the start of something very big.” When complete, the offshore wind farm will generate 30 MW.

Construction is set for an eight-week period this summer and more than a dozen construction and transport barges, tugboats, crew ships and monitoring vessels will be active at the offshore construction site. In addition, vessel and crane operators, engineers, welders, scientists, protected species observers and dozens of others are all involved with this momentous operation.

“Weeks Marine and Manson Construction are enthused to assist with this challenging project and excited for the future opportunity it promises,” said Rick Palmer, Project Director for Weeks/Manson, a joint venture leading the installation work. “We commend Deepwater Wind for their diligent efforts that have led to this milestone achievement.” Continue reading

Vattenfall’s DanTysk Offshore Wind Project Online

Vattenfall has officially begun operations of its DanTysk offshore wind farm. Located 70 kilometers west of Sylt Island, the project is the first infrastructure project jointly implemented by Vattenfall and SWM. DanTysk is comprised of 80 Siemens wind turbines with a total installed capacity of 288 MW.

globalassets-cision-images-20150430-en-1881382-1The event was celebrated by several key energy players in Europe including: German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel; Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg; Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz and Torsten Albig; Prime Minister of the State of Schleswig-Holstein; Magnus Hall, President and CEO of Vattenfall; and Dr Florian Bieberbach, CEO of SWM.

Sigmar Gabriel, German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs said during the event, “Last year we created the necessary investment security with EEC 2014, which led to a real breakthrough in the development of offshore wind power. By 2030 there should be 15 gigawatts of installed capacity, amounting to a capital investment of several billion Euros in wind farms and infrastructure, with high added value for Germany. Together with the DanTysk wind farm, by the end of this year Germany will generate green power from more than 3,000 megawatts of installed offshore capacity. That is a real boost for the energy transition.” Continue reading

Offshore Wind Tech Being Tested

China Ming Yang Wind Power Group Limited’s super compact drive (“SCD”) offshore wind turbine prototype of 6.5MW platform has begun a commercial trial operation in Rudong,Jiangsu Province, China. The 5 -7 MW wind turbine prototype features a two-blade design with a light weight permanent magnet generator and is able to adapt to various extreme offshore weather conditions, offering high reliability at a lower weight to offshore wind farm operators, particularly in typhoon-prone regions.

dreamstimefree_100632“We are proud to see that the world’s first SCD offshore wind turbine prototype of 6.5MW platform has beenconnected to the grid and put into trial operation,” said Chuanwei Zhang, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ming Yang. “Our unique model provides our customers with a cost-effective solution for their offshore wind farm projects in typhoon-prone coastal areas where extreme weather conditions prevail, for example the eastern and southern coast of China, potentially one of the world’s largest offshore markets.”

Zhang added, “Meanwhile, I am also pleased to announce that in response to our customers needs and to meet China’s complex offshore conditions, Ming Yang is planning to develop an innovative three-blade SCD wind turbine model, specializing in catching low speed wind. We expect that we will be able to seize the huge market opportunities by providing a wider product mix as well as value-added services, as the PRC government continues to push for renewable energy solutions in an effort to combat air pollution.”

Offshore Wind Can Compete With Fossils in Decade

A new study, “Offshore Wind in Europe: Walking the tightrope to success,” finds that the European offshore wind energy industry can compete with coal and natural gas by 2023. The Ernst & Young (EY) reports states that for this to occur, however, the industry must significantly reduce costs over the next five years.

EY Report Offshore wind in EuropeCost savings can be achieved in several ways including deploying larger turbines to increase energy capture (9%); fostering competition between industrial players (7%); commissioning new projects (7%); and tackling challenges in the supply chain such as construction facilities and installation equipment (3%). These actions, coupled with strong, long-term regulation will enable offshore wind energy to compete.

Parallel to release of the report, three of the biggest names in offshore wind have initiated a joint declaration – called ‘United Industry‘ – as part of a commitment to reducing costs in the sector. Dong Energy, MHI Vestas and Siemens Wind Power and Renewables have pledged to undertake joint and individual actions across the whole of the value chain to deliver “major long-term and tangible advancements.”

Michael Hannibal, CEO Offshore of Siemens Wind Power and Renewables, said, “Cost reduction remains a top priority of the offshore wind industry. We need to create profitable investments for offshore projects independent of subsidies. In a united industry, all stakeholders across the whole value chain are equally responsible to contribute and deliver. Siemens takes full ownership of this challenge. If we all do that, we will win.” Continue reading

Alstom Announces Deepwater Wind Will Proceed

The Deepwater Wind Block Island project will be proceeding. Alstom, the company that will provide five Haliade 150 6MW offshore wind turbines, said they have received formal notice to proceed from the developers of the project with the announcement that the project is now fully financed. The Haliade operates without any gearbox (using direct-drive), due to its permanent-magnet generator.

44504-HiRes-Haliade1506MWOffshorewindturbineerectedinLeCarnetFrance-IMG0035P“This is a major milestone and the confirmation that this project, the first commercial offshore project in the United States for Alstom, will now materialize, ” said Yves Rannou, senior vice president wind for Alstom.

Alstom will supply, install and commission the five Haliade 150 turbines for the project and provide 15 years of operations and maintenance support. The turbines, capable of producing approximately 125,000 MWh of electricity annually, will provide about 90 percent of Block Island’s power needs.

Anders Soe-Jensen, vice president of Alstom Wind Offshore added, “Securing final financing for this ambitious project is an exceptional achievement for Deepwater Wind. We believe this project will highlight both the commercial and technological viability of offshore wind in the US and we are proud to be part of the team making it happen. This is the start of a new chapter in sustainable energy for the US.”

Wind turbine, foundation and electrical interface engineering is advancing on schedule to meet Deepwater Wind’s project specifications, including installation of the five foundations during summer 2015. Located about three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, the Block Island Wind Farm is scheduled for commercial service in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Report: Offshore Wind Policy Not Working

According to a new report fueled by concerns that the Cape Wind project may never see fruition, U.S. offshore wind policy is not working. “In Up in the Air: What the Northeast States Should Do Together on Offshore Wind, Before It’s Too Late,” published by Clean Energy Group (CEG) and Navigant Consulting, tells the story of how the Cape Wind project is struggling against a decade of opposition. The report concludes the project’s difficulties highlight a larger policy problem—it is almost impossible for a single state to jump start the entire U.S. offshore wind industry.

Up in the AirThe report recommends a multi-state collaboration among states to create stronger and consistent regional policies, financing actions and permitting across the Northeast states.

“Cape Wind was a battle of the wallets, and the fossil fuel wallet evidently won,” said Lewis Milford, president of Clean Energy Group and the lead author of the report. “But there is a larger and more important story behind this controversy. If Northeast states want to reduce the costs of these projects and create offshore wind jobs, they must develop clear and consistent policies across the region, to give developers good reason to build projects here. If they don’t act together soon, they will lose this clean energy resource for decades to come, which will be bad for the economy and the environment.”

The paper recommends the states consider seven multi-state policy areas for regional action.

  1. Regional Offshore Wind Target. The establishment of a practical regional target (or target range) for offshore wind capacity would produce meaningful economic development and environmental benefits by creating a clear demand signal to developers.
  2. Coordinated Policy Incentives. Individual state policy drivers, including any incentives for developers, should be consistent across the region to drive demand and produce cost reductions over time through scale up of the offshore wind resource.
  3. Financing. States should develop new, regional financing mechanisms for regional and single projects, including use of bonds and green bank financing.
  4. Procurement. States should jointly procure power from one or more large offshore wind projects to reduce costs and create a reliable pipeline of demand for project developers.
  5. Economic Development. Coordinated, multi-state, economic development strategies rather than purely competitive action would spur economic development activity in the region through the creation of clean energy jobs and potentially new manufacturing facilities.
  6. Transmission. States should develop joint public funding of regional transmission and interconnection facilities associated with regional projects.
  7. Permitting. It is essential to the success of the multi-state projects that the policies ultimately adopted for permitting these facilities be standardized.

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