Wind turbine efficiency grows in line with demand

Paul Boughton

Investment continues to grow in wind power generation as new and more efficient technologies are emerging. Sean Ottewell reports.

Siemens and DONG Energy continue their successful co-operation in offshore wind with a framework agreement for the supply of 300 wind turbines with a capacity of 1800MW. The agreement is based on the new SWT-6.0-154 direct drive wind turbine that will be installed in wind power plants off the British coast between 2014 and 2017.

The world's largest rotor blade measuring 75metres in length, equalling a total rotor diameter of 154 metres, will be deployed (Fig. 1).

"Offshore wind energy has huge potential," said Michael Suess, member of the managing board at Siemens and ceo of the energy sector. "Offshore wind conditions are strong and stable, enabling an energy yield which can be about 40 per cent higher than onshore. The UK, Denmark and Germany in particular are counting on the future of offshore wind energy. We are pleased that our long-term customer DONG Energy has chosen the latest generation of our wind turbines. Together we are working to further reduce the costs for this environmentally-friendly form of power generation."[Page Break]

DONG Energy has already announced that it will install two of the new 6MW wind turbines later this year for testing at Gunfleet Sands offshore wind farm. The 6MW wind turbines are designed for large-scale projects, including the Round 3 projects in the UK. The target for 2020 in the UK is 18 GW of offshore wind energy, which equates to around 18 per cent of the country's electricity demand.

The energy production of Siemens' 6MW wind turbine is sufficient to supply about 6000 European households with electricity. The rotor has a diameter of 154 metres and has a swept area of more than 18,600m2, which is equivalent to the area of approximately two and a half soccer fields. The new 6 MW wind turbine is designed specifically for offshore use - in terms of serviceability it uses 50 per cent fewer components including rotating parts.[Page Break]

100MW wind farm

Following a development phase of more than four years and a construction period of nearly one year, Verbund, Austria's leading electricity company, is commissioning the 100MW wind farm of Casimcea I, close to Romania's Black Sea coast. A further wind farm of approximately 100MW is also under construction.

When fully commissioned, the 43 Enercon E-82 turbines with a hub height of 108 metres will generate 240 GWh/y of electricity - enough to supply 155,000 Romanian households. The contract also included construction of a 750MVA transformer station to feed the power into the Romanian power grid.

The second 100MW wind farm is due to be completed next year, as part of the EUR340m that is being invested by Romania in wind power up to 2016.

"Wind energy is the perfect supplement to hydropower and has the highest degree of competitiveness among all of the new forms of renewable energy," commented Verbund ceo Wolfgang Anzengruber. "We opted for an investment in Romania because of the outstanding wind conditions and the prevailing good general framework. With the commissioning of the 100 MW wind farm, Verbund is once again underlining the great importance of wind energy in the pan-European generation portfolio," he added.

In a separate development, Verbund has acquired five wind farms in Germany with a total capacity of 86 MW. Situated in Rhineland-Palatinate, these wind farms will be coming online between the end of this year and mid-2013.[Page Break]

Meanwhile Vestas has received its first Italian order for V100 wind turbines. This consists of 11 units of the V100-1.8MW wind turbine, representing a total capacity of 19.8MW for the Santa Luce wind power plant which will be located in Tuscany.

The contract includes delivery, transportation, installation and commissioning of the turbines, a VestasOnline business Scada system, plus a 15-year service and maintenance active output management (AOM) 4000 agreement.

The AOM 4000 is a full-scope service contract, consisting of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and consumables, which offers solid risk management for customers who want an availability guarantee measured against an agreed threshold. This type of contract offers customers assured performance avoiding unforeseen operational costs of any kind.

The order has been placed by Santa Luce, a special projects company within Fera. Fera is among the top ten companies developing wind power plants in the Italian market and is actively investing in new power generation technology.[Page Break]

Fera has previously developed other wind power plants in Italy with Vestas technology with a total installed capacity of approximately 45MW.

Delivery of the first turbines for the Santa Luce wind farm is expected to start shortly and the project is expected to be commercially operational before the end of 2012.

"We are pleased to announce the signature of the very first V100-1.8MW project in Italy. With a proven and reliable technical platform and a high performance, the 2MW platform has won the customers' recognition at a global level. Launched to the market in mid-2011, the V100-1.8MW has already a track record of 369 units installed globally, representing close to 700MW," said Juan Araluce, acting president, Vestas Mediterranean and chief sales officer, Vestas Wind Systems.

The Santa Luce wind power plant will produce approximately 53GWh per year, which corresponds to a saving of 21,000t/y of carbon dioxide emissions. Furthermore, it will provide enough electricity to cover the residential electricity consumption of more than 46,500 people in Italy.[Page Break]

Two spaced elevation

Skanska Infrastructure Development and Jämtkraft are investing 50/50 in a wind power plant with a total cost of about SEK1.2b (EUR141m). The new wind farm, Mullberg Wind Park, is located at Rätan in Berg municipality, Jämtland. It is being developed by Eolus Vind. The wind farm is located on two spaced elevation ridges in the terrain with altitude of 520-600 metres above sea level. The permit allows for 31 turbines in a combined generating capacity of 80 MW and a total height of 180metres and an annual production of more than 200GWh, which will be able to support approximately 45,000 households.

Skanska enters the project as an investor and contractor. Power company Jämtkraft is contributing its knowledge of electricity production and trading.

"With the completion of the Mullberg Wind Park, Skanska will in an environmentally friendly way produce more electricity than we dispose of in all our construction sites and in all our properties in Sweden. We will eventually be able to offer green, self-produced electricity for our own developed residential, industrial and office properties. It's a great step forward for our environmental work," says Göran Carlberg, development director at Skanska infrastructure development.

Jemtska, a company jointly owned by Skanska and Jämtkraft, is the project contractor and is responsible for building the wind farm and connection to the mains. Generation is expected to begin in 2013.

In business news, Lely has acquired the activities of Aircon. The company will continue under the name of Lely Aircon. Aircon develops and builds specialised wind turbines which produce a high energy density and are low in noise. Since 2006, when its product became commercially available, Aircon has installed nearly 100 wind turbines worldwide.

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