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Windtech International March April 2024 issue






Driving the Wind Energy Industry

The theme of this year’s EWEA, which will take place between 14 and 17 March in Brussels, Belgium, is ‘Driving the Wind Energy Industry through Science’. This is a vision we ourselves support, and for the past four years Windtech International has aimed to keep you updated about technological developments in the industry. However, while doing this we do not neglect the economic and political aspects, including the major (political) topics of these days, offshore wind and grid integration/improvement.

{access view=!registered}Only logged in users can view the full text of the article.{/access}{access view=registered}The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has recently published a new report with a vision for a modern renewable energy power system, which sets out how the grid can integrate increasing amounts of wind energy. ‘Powering Europe’ argues that there are no major technical barriers, but major economic benefits, to integrating large amounts of wind energy into Europe’s electricity grid. The new report identifies infrastructure and markets as the two key barriers to hugely increasing the amount of wind power in Europe’s electricity supply. In order to deliver the onshore and offshore wind energy from where it is produced to where it will be consumed, Europe needs extended, upgraded and better connected grids, and fair and effective competition in a truly internal European market in electricity.The electricity grid infrastructure needed to accommodate increasingly large amounts of renewable energy and create effective competition in a single market in electricity includes a new offshore grid in Europe’s northern Seas (North Sea, Irish Sea and Baltic Sea), as well as a number of improved interconnections across continental Europe (especially between Spain and France but also between Germany and its neighbours, across the Alps and into eastern and southeastern Europe).

The USA has started to focus more on offshore wind as well. US Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu has announced the release of three solicitations, worth up to US$ 50.5 million over five years, to develop offshore wind energy technology and to reduce specific market barriers to its deployment. The solicitations announced by Secretary Chu are up to US$ 25 million over five years for technology development, up to US$ 18 million over three years for removing market barriers and up to US$ 7.5 million over three years for the development of next-generation drive trains.

The US Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, for his part, identified four Wind Energy Areas offshore the mid-Atlantic states as part of the Department of the Interior’s ‘Smart from the Start’ approach. The areas are located on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore Delaware (122 square nautical miles), Maryland (207 sq. nm), New Jersey (417 sq. nm) and Virginia (165 sq. nm). They will receive early environmental reviews that will help to cut down the time required for review, leasing and approval of offshore wind turbine facilities. In March, the DOI also expects to identify Wind Energy Areas off several North Atlantic states, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and to launch additional NEPA environmental reviews for those areas. A similar process will occur for the South Atlantic region, namely North Carolina, later this spring.

Enjoy reading,

Floris Siteur
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