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Offshore Wind Energy and UK Law

A Commentary on the Issues Facing Wind Park Developers in the UK

ImageThe UK offshore wind energy sector is booming at the moment. This is largely because of the UK government’s ‘Renewables Obligation’ targets for the generation of electricity from renewable sources of 10% by 2010 and 15% by 2015. As the windiest country in Europe, the UK is in a very good position to fulfil the targets by installing many wind parks in the relatively shallow waters extending into the North Sea. In this article, the author describes the legal implications for offshore wind farms.

Jonathan Lux, Partner, Ince & Co, UK

Wind Energy Condition-Based Monitoring

Case Study and Cost–Benefit Analysis on Implementation of CBM
The focus of this case study and cost–benefit analysis is an application of a condition-based monitoring (CBM) tool installed in a 700kW wind turbine generator at a project based in the USA. The installation was in response to reports that several wind farms had experienced catastrophic gearbox failures, resulting in exorbitant costs and lost revenues. It began in summer 2003 with a cooperative pilot study, the objective being implementation of a ‘trial installation’ that would demonstrate the benefits of a CBM system on a wind turbine to help prevent catastrophic failures.

By Staff Writer, Prasentia, and  Roland Kewitsch, Product Manager, Schenck-Trebel, USA

Carbon Credits and Wind Power

Assessing Their Potential Impact on Project Profitability
Wind power generates CO2-free electricity and so it can also generate ‘carbon credits’ attached to each delivered kWh. If an environmental derivative market is available, the profitability of a wind power project will result from selling electricity to the energy market and also from selling ‘carbon credits’ on such a derivative market. And this will be more and more possible as the Kyoto Protocol and its attached main ‘flexibility mechanism’ the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) enter into force in 2005 together with the European Trading System (ETS). This article describes  a simple and reliable method to assess the increase in profitability by selling carbon credits.

By Bernard Chabot, Senior Expert, ADEME, France

Electrical Transmission System for Offshore Wind Farms

New Market Requirements

Large offshore wind farms are a potential source to supplement the power generation portfolio in Europe. The offshore environment and the high investment demand a professional approach throughout project development, the contracting and the operational phase. The investment for the electrical transmission system amounts to around 25% and is therefore an essential part of the total project. This article addresses the numerous new market requirements on the electrical transmission system for large offshore wind farms caused by the project structure, the electrical system design and the commercial and contractual conditions.

By Juergen Bernauer, Vice-President, ABB Wind Power Integration, Germany

Lubricant and Debris Analysis for Wind Turbines

Condition Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance

ImageThe rapidly growing number of wind turbines, providing an increasingly credible alternative to the use of polluting fossil fuels, brings with it a rising need for quality maintenance programmes if production targets are to be met and reliability standards raised. Manufacturers and operators alike face not only the obvious issues associated with the amortisation of initial capital costs but also the need to maintain levels of production above the ‘penalty zone’. Simple business economics prescribe that minimising downtime optimises availability and maximises profitability.

By Don Wootton and Chris Morton, Spectro Oil Analysis, UK

Sensors for Today’s Turbines

Harsher Conditions and Larger Turbines Require Enhanced Validation,
Monitoring and Control

ImageEvery day wind energy is being pushed to new limits, both in terms of operating conditions and in terms of size. To meet these challenges turbine designers and wind park developers need new tools to ensure their products will meet goals of operating cost and availability. Recent innovations in fibre-optic load sensing have created such a tool; it will expand the options for advanced monitoring and control of turbines that are pushing the envelope, and will open up possibilities for huge gains in availability and operating cost.

By Rain Byars and Jens-Thomas Wernicke, WindForce GmbH, Germany

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Comparing Models for Energy Output Estimation

Can SiteWind lower uncertainty and costs?

ImageConventional micrositing models such as WAsP (Wind Atlas Analysis and Application Program) are equilibrium models that create a wind map and climatology of a region using data from a single reference mast. The models typically assume a constant, homogeneous, neutrally stratified, externally determined wind flow; the terrain acts as a perturbation on this flow. In contrast, SiteWind, a new micrositing tool introduced by AWS Truewind, resolves the dynamic forces within the region affecting the flow caused by temperature gradients, non-neutral stability and other factors. In this article the authors present the results of case studies and discuss their implications for uncertainty analysis. They also show how the demonstrated accuracy improvements can translate into lower uncertainty of energy output estimates.

By Rebecca Reed, Michael Brower and Jason Kreiselman, AWS Truewind, USA