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Publisher's Note January February 2016

Long-term consistent policies appear on the horizon

In my Publisher’s Note from the beginning of this year (and in many others over the years too) I urged for a long-term and consistent policy to really develop a global stable base market. And, finally, it looks like we might be heading that way based on events that happened in December 2015!

 

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Publisher's Note November/December 2015

Can global wind installations double in 5 years?

According to Anders Runevad, CEO of Vestas, cumulative wind energy installations worldwide may double within 5 years as falling costs help producers compete with conventional power. It is true that wind has become more competitive with conventional energy sources. recent study from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) shows that the global average levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) for onshore wind decreased from US$ 85 per MWh to US$ 83 in 2015. On average the LCOE for conventional energy sources such as coal-fired generation and combined-cycle gas turbine generation increased in the same period to US$ 92.

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Publisher's Note October 2015

Worldwide wind market booming like never before

The worldwide wind capacity reached 392,927MW by the end of June 2015, out of which 21,678MW were added in the first six months of 2015. This increase is substantially higher than in the first half of 2014 and 2013, when 17.6GW and 13.9GW respectively were added. All wind turbines installed worldwide by mid-2015 can generate 4 per cent of the world’s electricity demand. The global wind capacity grew by 5.8 per cent within six months (after 5.6 per cent in the same period in 2014 and 4.9 per cent in 2013) and by 16.8 per cent on an annual basis (mid-2015 compared with mid-2014).

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Publisher's Note September 2015

Reaching for the higher winds

The hub heights of onshore wind turbines are shooting up to elevations of 100 metres and more in order to reach more consistent and faster winds and so produce more energy than is available at lower heights. In order to harness this higher grade energy, wind turbine towers must evolve to reach new heights. Many towers, and especially those of 100 metres and more, are nowadays made from concrete. However, this market is being constrained when it comes to increasing tower height because of the limited availability of the powerful cranes needed to erect such tall towers.

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Publisher's Note July/August 2015

Lack of policy support is the main barrier for small wind take-off

Most attention in the wind sector goes to large wind turbines and utility scale projects, but in the small and medium sized wind energy market a lot is happening as well and this market is growing. Fuelled by the spread of innovative financing programmes centred around the leasing model, growth in the installation of small and medium wind turbine (SMWT) power systems is accelerating. According to a recent report from Navigant Research, worldwide revenue from SMWTs will grow from US$ 1 billion in 2015 to nearly US$ 2.4 billion in 2023.

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Publisher's Note June 2015

American wind energy rebounded in 2014 but will this continue?

Windpower 2015 was held in Orlando from 18 to 21 May this year. There were close to 400 exhibitors, a little less than last year in Las Vegas. At the time of writing I do not know the exact number of attendees but I had the impression that attendance was better than in recent years. As always the manufactures attracted the most visitors to their booths and launched new products at the show. GE launched its Digital Wind Farm ecosystem, a dynamic, connected and adaptable wind energy ecosystem that pairs turbines with the digital infrastructure for the wind industry. The technology could boost a wind farm’s energy production by up to 20%. Siemens launched a new wind turbine especially for the US market. The new turbine features a 120-metre rotor. The product was developed with an eye towards increasing energy production for sites with medium to low wind conditions, which are prevalent in markets within the Americas region. At wind speeds ranging from 6 to 8.5 metres per second, the Siemens SWT-2.3-120 can yield an increase of nearly 10% in AEP compared to its predecessor, the SWT-2.3-108. Serial production of the SWT-2.3-120 will commence in the USA in 2017. During the show we spoke with many people and have gathered ideas for future articles about lubrication, resource assessment, novel floating foundations designs and much more. Keep an eye on future issues to stay informed about the latest technological developments.

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Publisher's Note April May 2015

The Offshore Wind Business as a United Industry

Over 8,000 delegates from 54 countries were in Copenhagen this year for EWEA OFFSHORE 2015. The central theme of the event was how to bring down the levelised cost of energy. At the event, three players within the offshore wind industry (MHI-Vestas Offshore Wind, DONG Energy and Siemens Wind Power) launched an initiative and issued a joint declaration outlining the concept of a ‘United Industry’. The goal of the declaration is to inspire the industry to come together around the promise of reducing its cost of energy, which remains a top priority for the offshore wind industry. According to a study commissioned by EWEA the industry should knock down 26% of its capital and operating costs in order to become highly competitive by 2023. The study, conducted by Ernst & Young, highlights four key actions to reduce costs. First, the introduction of higher capacity turbines with better energy capture and reliability with lower operating costs could lead to as much as a 9% reduction in costs. Second, a steady project pipeline allowing continuous production of support structures would cut up to 7%. Third, greater competition between industrial actors in several key supply chain areas would lower costs by as much as 7%. And, fourth, greater supply chain optimisation and logistical integration could potentially achieve a 3% saving. The report expects the sector to be close to reducing the levelised cost of energy to €100 per megawatt-hour by 2020, by which time cumulative installed capacity in European waters is expected to have tripled to 23.5GW. The study adds that the cost could be reduced to €90/MWh by 2030, as long as a continual stream of new projects come on-line.

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