Wind power is now booming in Finland

» By | Published 28 Feb 2013 |
Anni Mikkonen from the Finnish Wind Power Association

Anni Mikkonen from the Finnish Wind Power Association

By Anni Mikkonen and Heidi Paalatie, Finnish Wind Power Association

There is a lot going on in the Finnish wind power sector. Good evidence for that was the high amount of Finnish companies and visitors at EWEA 2013 in Vienna this year. Also, the interest shown towards the Finnish market was remarkable. It’s nice to work here right now!

The total installed capacity in Finland is still modest: at the end of 2012 there were 163 turbines with total capacity of 288 MW. Despite the modest numbers we can finally say that wind power development is now booming in Finland. In 2012 the capacity increased 45 %, and the Finnish Wind Power Association (FWPA) estimates the increase will continue: at least 125 MW will be installed this year.

The single biggest reason for the booming of the Finnish wind power is the feed-in-tariff system that was implemented in spring 2011. The planning of the system started already in 2009, which encouraged the project developers: the pipeline in Finland today is 8,600 MW worth of capacity including 3,000 MW of offshore capacity. So far there is only one true offshore turbine in use, but as the plans advance, that single turbine will have company sooner or later!

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With small scale wind energy, thousands of villages can benefit from wind power in Nepal

» By | Published 27 Feb 2013 |

Continuing with the series of “wind energy stories” from around the world, in association with Global Wind Day, Robert van Waarden travels to Nepal to meet Aruna Awale at the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre.

“I have seen a bright future for wind energy in Nepal, because a lot of wind energy potential has been predicted,” says Aruna Awale, an employee of the wind energy department at the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) in Kathmandu, Nepal.

From the window of her office, she can see one of the few operating wind turbines in Nepal. It is a small Maglev vertical axis turbine and it turns rapidly in the wind that blows through the Kathmandu valley. It is a sign of more to come if Awale has anything to do with it.

Awale works on data and implementation projects, co-ordinates meetings and conferences, and meets with national and international stakeholders when she works with the AEPC. She credits her experience at the AEPC for giving her more confidence and a huge amount of unique experience. She especially enjoys the opportunity to travel internationally for seminars, the highlight of which for her is often a visit to a wind farm.

Nepal faces several problems in the implementation of large-scale wind energy, but interestingly, one of those isn’t finance, as many development banks, institutions, and companies are ready to step forward.  Instead Awale mentions the complex geography and the insufficient infrastructure as the main challenge. The small roads, or entire lack thereof, are often not suited for carrying large equipment to high windy points. The spectacular but difficult geography makes studies and installations more difficult. In order to fully grow in this energy sector, this challenge will have to be overcome.

Ms. Awale thinks one way to do that is to start smaller. Citing an implemented pilot project by the Asian Development Bank, Ms. Awale remains confident that wind energy will have a great impact on small communities in Nepal. In the Dhaubadi BDC of Nawalparasi District, 46 households are now connected to electricity by a small wind turbine. This has transformed the village and made it the envy of neighbouring villages: now everyone wants a wind turbine.

 

“With small-scale wind energy, thousands of villages can benefit from wind power where no energy is available, not even for lights.” says Ms. Awale.

Ms. Awale has been working with the AEPC for almost a decade and hopes to see some of the available 3,000 MW potential in Nepal developed, recognising that it will change the life of many of her fellow Nepalis. For many of them, the answer to electricity problems and some of the attached poverty issues may simply be blowing in the wind.

 Every picture tells a story – what is yours? Tell us what you think about wind energy by taking part in the Global Wind Day 2013 photo competition to win a €1,000 Amazon voucher and get the chance to be published on this blog.

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Technological advances are improving wind power’s competitiveness

» By | Published 26 Feb 2013 |

Anti-wind power lobbyists have long contested claims by the wind industry that wind power is competitive with fossil fuels. But technological advances, making wind turbines bigger, smarter, and more competitive in all situations, mean the wind is fast being taken out of the naysayers’ sails.

Both EWEA and GWEC, the Global Wind Energy Council, agree that “onshore wind power is competitive once all the costs that affect traditional energy sources – like fuel and CO2 costs, and the effects on environment and health – are factored in”. Taking CO2 costs alone, “if a cost of €30 per tonne of CO2 emitted was applied to power produced, onshore wind energy would be the cheapest source of new power generation in Europe,” states EWEA. Moreover, wind is already “directly competitive with conventional sources in many places around the world, such as Mexico, Brazil, New Zealand, parts of China and the US,” according to GWEC.

Australia also seems to have been added to this list after a report published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) in February stated that wind is now cheaper than fossil fuels in producing electricity in Australia, a story reported on this blog at the time.

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China’s wind energy sector generates more electricity than nuclear power

» By | Published 25 Feb 2013 |

CO2Wind power generated more electricity than nuclear power in China last year and will likely continue to do so in the future, according to a new report by the influential Earth Policy Institute (EPI).

The report, released last Tuesday, added nuclear power generation in China has risen by 10% annually since 2007 but wind power during the same period experienced “explosive growth” of 80% per year.

“China’s overall wind energy resource is staggering,” the report said. “Harvard researchers estimate that China’s wind generation potential is 12 times larger than its 2010 electricity consumption.”

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“Turbine mechanics are not so different from cars, just bigger!”

» By | Published 25 Feb 2013 |
Johanna Lehner stands at Windkraft Simonsfeld in Austria

Johanna Lehner stands on top of a wind turbine in Austria

Part two of a new series of “wind energy stories” from around the world, in association with Global Wind Day. Today, Gerhard Scholz from the Austrian Wind Energy Association, speaks to Johanna Lehner, a service technician at Windkraft Simonsfeld in Austria.

What exactly does a wind turbine service technician do?

Essentially, we go on a wind turbine patrol. The main task is the regular visual inspection of the condition of all our sites – from the tower to the nacelle. The aim is to guarantee the highest possible availability of all our wind turbines.

What maintenance activities do you do?

We oil components, exchange filters if necessary, measure the performance of the turbine, test and replace electrical components if necessary and test the hydraulic system.

How did you end up in wind energy and what training did you do?

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