One of the world’s largest offshore wind farms came a step closer to reality in recent weeks as suction-installed foundations for the project left their Irish shipyard to begin their journey to the site of the Dogger Bank wind farm, 125 kilometres off the UK’s east coast.
The structures, known as bucket foundations, can reduce costs as there is no need for transition piece costs or additional grouting as would be the case for more traditional foundations.
They are literally gigantic steel buckets that will sink solidly into the sea floor using a suction method and jetting systems, as opposed to floating or more conventional monopole, jacket or tripod foundations which are generally tethered to the seabed. –
By Kara Perconti
Are you creative with your camera and have a passion for wind energy? Then you might be keen to enter EWEA’s 2013 photo competition for Global Wind Day, giving yourself the chance to win a €1,000 Amazon voucher!
Following the success of last year’s hugely popular Global Wind Day photo competition, this year we are launching a photo competition with a twist: we are looking for entrants to submit a photo accompanied by a short story about wind energy describing to us what wind energy means to you.
Do you have a story to tell about wind energy? Whether you simply think wind turbines are attractive, or you think wind energy is the future, or, you work in the sector and want to tell us your story, supplement a photo submission with a short text. Tell us of a time when wind energy inspired you or sparked your attention, we want to know!
EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger speaking in Brussels
At a special press briefing organized by The International Press Association in Brussels last night, EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger confirmed that he will be bringing forward proposals for post-2020 policy, before the current term of the Commission ends, which is 31 October 2014. He said that the Council would talk about binding targets in an orientation debate and that he favoured binding targets. He also said that the targets will be “pragmatic” and “sensitive”.
For 2020, the EU has committed to cutting its emissions to 20% below 1990 levels, as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency targets. A binding renewable energy target for 2030 would provide much needed confidence for the renewables industry, as well as secure commitment to tackle climate change from EU member states.
Wind energy has made the headlines across the globe in recent days, with perhaps the world’s most powerful man, US President Barack Obama, calling for “even more” wind energy.
“Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more,” he said in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, according to CNN.
2012 was wind energy’s strongest year in the US yet with 13 GW added, bringing the total to 60 GW – enough power for around 15 million homes.
But the US was not alone in experiencing a strong wind energy year in 2012. Globally, 44,711 MW were added to the world’s wind energy fleet, up from 41,000 MW the previous year. From both 2010-11 and 2011-12, the total cumulative capacity increased by 20%.
“More than 45 GW of new wind turbines arrived in 2012, with China and the US leading the way with 13 GW each, while Germany, India and the UK were next with about 2 GW apiece,” the Guardian reported.
“While China paused for breath, both the US and European markets had exceptionally strong years,” Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) said.
The Australian wind farm sector got a boost of confidence from a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) analysis that showed electricity produced by the emissions-free generating technology is 14% cheaper than a new coal plant and 18% cheaper than a new gas plant.
“The perception that fossil fuels are cheap and renewables are expensive is now out of date,” Michael Liebreich, chief executive of BNEF, said in a press release. “The fact that wind power is now cheaper than coal and gas in a country with some of the world’s best fossil fuel resources shows that clean energy is a game changer which promises to turn the economics of power systems on its head.”
The BNEF analysis showed electricity can be supplied from a new Australian wind farm for €61/MWh compared to €109/MWh from a new coal plant or €89/MWh from a new gas plant.