Wind energy is now the cheapest form of new power generation and has recently been a hotbed of European innovation and success.
But the sector faces one of its most daunting policy challenges – keeping the momentum to 2030.
The industry has seen massive cost reductions in onshore wind with the tenders in Spain after a four year market standstill and the UK joining the cost reduction trend in offshore wind with a 47% drop in Contracts for Difference in the last auction.
Europe is now home to the world’s first floating offshore wind farm (anchored in the Buchan Deep off Peterhead) and, increasingly, to corporates signing renewable power purchase agreements and driving new demand for green power.
Europe could be on course for 12.6 GW of installations per year up to 2020. By then wind would be Europe’s largest renewable energy source, providing 16.5% of Europe’s electricity demand.But the outlook from 2020 is uncertain.
A spokesman for Wind Europe explained: “As an industry, we need ambitious National Energy & Climate Action Plans that provide clarity on post-2020 volumes and allow cost reductions to continue.
“This requires a good outcome in the negotiations between EU countries and the European Parliament on the Clean Energy Package.
With an upgraded market design, a strong electrification agenda and an ambitious renewable energy target of at least 35% by 2030, the wind industry can deliver even bigger volumes at competitive costs.”
Meanwhile, the world’s tallest wind turbine has been built near Stuttgart in Germany.
With a hub height of 178 meters and a total height of 246.5 meters, the turbine is also part of a wholly unique power plant concept – the water battery.
For the first time ever, power generation from renewable energy is combined with a modern pumped-storage power plant in the Max Bogl Wind turbine.
This new storage concept utilises the foundation of the wind turbine as a water reservoir, which results in a 40 meter increase in the height of the turbine. This is hugely beneficial since each additional meter of hub height added to a wind turbine increases the annual energy yield by 0.5 to 1 percent.
30 Oct 2017