Walney wind farm off the coast of Cumbria in the UK yesterday became the world’s largest offshore wind facility. One hundred and two turbines over 73 sq km (28 sq miles) provide a maximum output of 367.2 MW. It’s claimed the facility will provide enough power for about 320,000 homes – half as many again as the total number in Cumbria.
The project’s first phase, Walney 1, has been providing power since January 2011 from 51 137-meter-high (450-ft) turbines, each with a 107-m (350-ft) rotor diameter. The completed second phase, Walney 2, adds another 51 turbines of even greater size to the installation. These 150-m (492-ft) tall turbines have three 18-tonne (19.8-short ton) blades with a total diameter of 120 m (394 ft). Despite the differing dimensions, all turbines are Siemens-made 3.6 MW turbines. All told a single wind turbine weighs a hefty 550 tonnes (606 short tons). The Walney 2 installation was completed in an impressively tight six-month window.
To tow the new gigantic off-shore wind turbines now being developed in Europe far out to sea, a Norwegian company has devised a clever and simple mechanism. Their WindFlip tows the turbine out almost horizontal – and then when it gets to the site, tilts it up into position – using only the weight of seawater to do it.
The structure contains 29 air filled compartments. Once at the site each of the compartments inside the Windflip is sequentially filled with water, causing the stern to slowly submerge, so that both the Windflip barge and the turbine it is holding flip up 90°. Then it releases the turbine for connection with a pre-installed mooring spread, and then tips the barge back to horizontal by clearing the ballast tanks of seawater with compressed air.
This week, Statoil has an application for a pilot demonstration of their Hywind floating wind turbine 12 miles off the coast of Maine before the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for approval. The demo would be the fruition of a project begun in 2009, and funded by the Department of Energy.
Then Maine Governor John Baldacci had visited Norway to inspect Statoil’s Hywind floating turbine project with state and university officials and business leaders and encouraged Statoil to consider his state for deep-water testing of the commercial floating wind turbine technology in the Gulf of Maine. A return visit introduced Norway’s Statoil to turbine construction expertise in Maine, visiting the Vinalhaven wind turbines on the Fox Islands constructed by Cianbro.
The offshore wind industry passed a milestone recently with the installation of the world’s first floating offshore wind turbine off the coast of Agucadoura, Portugal. The WindFloat project consists of a 2-MW semi-submersible wind turbine that can be deployed without heavy machinery.
Not quite Scotland’s goal of 100% renewable energy by 2025, but still a highly ambitious one (relative to other countries), Denmark’s newest renewable energy target proposals aim to have wind supplying it with half of its electricity by 2020, and renewable energy supplying it with ALL of its energy by 2050. And all of its power and heat would come from renewables by 2035.
Ethiopia isn’t a country that comes up often when discussing renewable energy, but the Ethiopian Electric Power Coroporation (EEPCO) this past week announced it’s starting construction of six wind power projects and one geothermal power plant. In total, electricity generation capacity for the renewable energy projects totals more than one gigawatt (1 GW), Ethtiopian news service NewsDire reported.
The renewable energy projects are part of EEPCO’s plans to increase national electricity generation capacity five times by 2015, from a current 2000 megawatts (MW) to about 10,000 MW. Increasing electricity generation, in turn, is key to the government’s broader economic development plans.
Scotland has an ambitious and admirable goal: 100% renewable energy. Taking steps toward reaching this goal, the Scottish government approved an offshore test site for a new 6MW wind turbine.
2-B Energy, based in the Netherlands, has permission to install an innovative two-bladed wind turbine approximately 70 feet off the coast of Methil in Fife, according to Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing. 2-B is one of several companies which has a lease in the 2010 offshore wind demonstration leasing round, which is supposed to help develop wind farms offshore and in deep water.
There have been a lot of articles about how many Asian countries, namely China, are starting to dominate the solar energy sector. However, General Electric Co. has decided to enter the Asian alternative energy sector by announcing they will be providing 31 turbines for a $100 million wind farm in Mongolia. The farm will be built by Newcom LLC, a Mongolian investment company.
You would have heard of various wind turbine projects that run toward the generation of power by using the naturally blowing wind’s energy. This generated power is then used to run several applications that require electrical energy as an input. For that purpose, the energy is generally transported and fed into the power grid. But, here is a unique and power-packed German design for an integrated wind turbine structure that is termed as Efflux. There are various unique features of this pylon that take its efficiency level to newer heights when compared to the regular wind turbine structures. You would be wondering what is the addition to this pylon that makes it different from other similar structures! Then, check out some of the exclusive characteristics of this power producer.
In a few places, wind power is already as cheap as natural gas or coal-fired electricity. By and large, however, it’s still a bit more expensive in most regions ’round the world. But not for long.
Climate Progress points us to this report in Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which has the scoop: “The cost of electricity from onshore wind turbines will drop 12% in the next five years thanks to a mix of lower-cost equipment and gains in output efficiency.”
And that 12% drop will have huge implications, as Bloomberg reports: “The best wind farms in the world already produce power as economically as coal, gas and nuclear generators; the average wind farm will be fully competitive by 2016.”
Marine energy has long looked to be a niche area, capable of meeting just a few percent of global power demand. But this seemingly limited energy source is drawing some big players, the latest being Siemens. The German engineering giant boosted its stake this month in Bristol, U.K.-based tidal energy developer Marine Current Turbines from under 10 percent to 45 percent. The attraction, according to Michael Axmann, chief financial officer for Siemens’s solar and hydro division, is the predictability of marine power.
Solar and wind farm operators struggle to predict tomorrow’s output, and bad forecasts can wreak havoc with power transmission planning and market prices. In contrast, the gravitational pull of the moon and sun that controls tidal cycles provides a sure means of anticipating the output from tidal generating stations. “Power output of the systems could be calculated for centuries in advance,” says Axmann.
Flying a kite has often been considered child’s play, but a group of inventors think the concept could be used to make wind energy cheaper and more reliable than ever before, potentially revolutionizing wind power forever.
energyNOW! correspondent Josh Zepps met the innovators working to turn the idea of flying a kite into an airborne wind turbine that’s lighter and more powerful than traditional wind turbines. The full video is available below:
Canada’s hydropower industry has plans to invest up to $70 billion on hydro-electric projects across the country in the next 10 to 15 years, increasing its hydro-electric resources – to a truly staggering 88,500 MW.
Most of the additional projects are in provinces with abundant precipitation that is likely to increase in a warming future, making them ideal for hydropower. Hydro-electric power is much cleaner in cold climates than in warm ones, because methane emissions that are caused by rotting vegetation are lower in colder climates. Quebec is building another 4,570 MW, British Columbia: 3,341 MW, Labrador: 3,074 MW and Manitoba: 2,380 MW.
World’s Largest Hydropower Project Will Produce One-Third Of Africa’s Electricity, But Who Will Get It?
At double the size of China’s Three Gorges Dam, the 40 GW Grand Inga hydropower project, to be built on the Congo River under an agreement between the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa, will be the world’s largest by a wide margin. It will increase Africa’s electricity generating capacity by one-third.
But as IPS News reports, as is unfortunately typical with many big-push style projects in the developing world, the local people will likely get little of the electricity produced by the Grand Inga.
Instead, the power transmission lines are expected to go towards mining and industrial facilities, towards the big cities in South Africa and Egypt, as well as possibly being exported to Europe.