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2011 Offshore wind statistics

by Jerome a Paris Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 08:39:31 AM EST

The EWEA has published its yearly review of the offshore wind industry, focusing on projects which came online in the past year:

Today the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) published its annual offshore wind statistics for 2011 in Brussels showing that 235 new turbines with a total power capacity of 866 Megawatts (MW) were fully grid connected across nine offshore wind farms.

Across the EU, a total of 1371 offshore turbines have now been grid connected, with a total power capacity of 3813 Megawatts in 53 wind farms in 10 European countries.

The EWEA notes that 2,375 MW are currently under construction, and an even larger pipeline is under development. They also note (I wrote that part of the report and I can only encourage you to read it in more detail!):

“Despite the economy-wide financial squeeze, 2011 saw a 40 per cent increase on the previous year in offshore non-recourse debt financing , up from 1.46 billion Euros in 2010 to 2.05 billion Euros in 2011.”

See the full report (pdf) here


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Turbine study finds no harm, Opponents are indifferent

Very little evidence of impact found from Wind Turbines
But battle to the death will continue despite the facts

By David Kent

The initial response to this week's release, by the Massachusetts DEP, of a study called the Wind Turbine Health Impact Study:  Report of the Independent Expert Panel has been eminently predictable:

  • The Cape Cod Times printed an eye catching headline across it front page:  "State:  Wind turbines not harmful".
  • Turbine opponents blasted the report sight unseen.
  • Wind power supporters cheered it, also sight unseen.

I suppose this is to be expected in that cage match to the death otherwise known as the wind turbine debate.

In this review I will attempt to be a bit more circumspect.  This study is not "game, set and match" for turbine supporters nor is it a stake in the heart of turbine opponents.  It is, however, a valuable contribution to the discussion.  While the study does not say that turbines have no impact upon humans, it does find very little evidence of impact in the scientific literature.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 11:21:56 AM EST
is also in the news today (only in German and italian so far, despite the amounts involved):


Windpark kommt HVB noch teurer

Die HypoVereinsbank ist einziger Finanzier des Windparks vor Borkum. Das Projekt hängt bereits zwei Jahre im Zeitplan hinterher. Nun drohen noch höhere Verluste als angenommen. von Angela Maier München
Für die HypoVereinsbank (HVB) und ihre italienische Mutter Unicredit droht der Windpark Bard Offshore 1 zum Milliardengrab zu werden. Wie das FTD-Schwestermagazin Capital berichtet, hat die HVB die Risikovorsorge für drohende Verluste aus dem sich verzögernden Projekt per Ende September um knapp 70 Prozent auf 710 Mio. Euro aufgestockt.

Bis der Park in der Nordsee fertig gebaut ist, könnten die Verluste der Bank weiter wachsen: Die gesamten Baukosten schätzt die HVB derzeit auf 2,9 Mrd. Euro. Dies ist über 1 Mrd. Euro mehr als ursprünglich geplant. Der erzielbare Verkaufserlös für den Park liege jedoch deutlich unter 2 Mrd. Euro, sagen Brancheninsider.

Loose google translation:

HypoVereinsbank is the sole financier of the wind farm off Borkum. The project is already two years behind schedule. Now higher losses than anticipated are threatened.

For HypoVereinsbank (HVB) and its Italian parent Unicredit the Bard Offshore 1 wind farm threatens to become a billion-euro hole.  FTD sister magazine Capital reported that HVB loan loss provisions for anticipated losses from project delays  has been increased by nearly 70 percent to 710 million € as of end of September.

By the time the wind farm in the North Sea has been finished, the losses could grow yet more: The total construction cost  are currently estimated by HVB to be 2.9 billion €. This is about € 1 billion more than originally planned. The selling price for the park lies considerably lower than € 2 billion, say industry insiders.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 11:29:43 AM EST

Italy's banks tap ECB for €50bn

Italy's banks, led by UniCredit, were the biggest users of the special three-year funding mechanism launched by the European Central Bank in December, according to a new report.

UniCredit - Italy's biggest bank by assets - took €12.5bn of three-year money under the facility, closely followed by Intesa Sanpaolo, with €12bn, and Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which took €10bn, the report from analysts at Morgan Stanley says.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 11:31:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]

German offshore wind specialist Bard puts itself up for sale
(31 August 2011)

Although the company declines to offer further details, it is understood to be in discussions with both Asian and European players and hoping to conclude a sale by spring 2012. Late last year, Bard founder Arngolt Bekker - the Kazakh-born German oil magnate who decided to plough much of his fortune into offshore wind - retired from the company and transferred his family's near-90% stake into a new entity called Bard Asset Management.

Bard is an unusual presence in its sector. Founded in 2006, the company is as close as an offshore wind company can get to vertical integration, with production facilities for its own 5MW turbines, blades and tripod foundations; its own jack-up installation vessel, known as the Wind Lift 1; and a raft of projects under development in the German North Sea.

The company's state-of-the-art production facilities on the North Sea coast in Emden and Cuxhaven are viewed as one of its key assets, given the recent acceleration of Germany's offshore wind program me.

Since entering construction in March 2010, the company's flagship project, the 400MW Bard Offshore 1, has faced delays. To date, 16 of the planned 80 turbines have been installed, along with 40 foundations.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 11:34:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What exactly is the reason for the delay? Offshore still has some pratical problems, but is it a technical or a political problem?
by Anspen on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 01:37:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But basically they severely underestimated the complexity of offshore work, not having a lot of experience.

Their custom made vessel was built by a shipyard with limited experience of the specific requirements of the industry, and was not initially up to the task; they had operational & safety issues; and, last year, they found a design flaw in the turbine, meaning that they had to modify those already produced and make changes to those already installed, which prevented the installation of new ones this year.

Such design problems happen with all turbines, but when you have only one project and one turbine run, you're betting the company that this won't happen, which is not a safe bet to make.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 02:08:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are other projects with troubles, too. (Still?) anti-wind magazine Der Spiegel brought this at the end of December:

Stress on the High Seas: Germany's Wind Power Revolution in the Doldrums - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

...the expansion of the country's offshore wind farms in particular, which Minister Röttgen considers of paramount importance, is constantly beset by new problems.

On December 6 he received an urgent message from Leonhard Birnbaum, RWE's chief commercial officer, and Fritz Vahrenholt, who heads up the company's renewables division. The two men expressed their serious concern that "the timely realization of grid links" for offshore wind farms had become "dramatically problematic," thus seriously jeopardizing the expansion of the sector and therefore also the government's plans. "This development puts us in an extremely difficult position," the two RWE managers wrote.

This was preceded by a similar letter from TenneT, one of the grid operators; albeit that constituted lobbying for either a limitation of the right for grid access or state help in adapting the network. RWE's problem discussed by Spiegel happens to be with TenneT, too (which BTW is a Dutch grid company that bought E.on's grid operations in Germany).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 04:54:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
this is not project related, this is grid related (as you know under German law offshore projects have to be connected to the grid by the local grid operator) and there's two things:

  • a delay of a few months on the (ongoing) construction of one cable, linking to a cluster near Helgoland where RWE has a project under construction. So the turbines there may be built before the grid is connected. RWE is calling for compensation - which is actually already in the law (just not tested for amounts of that scale).  This is linked to supply chain issues in the cable industry (very specialized facilities are required to produce cables that are severe ltens of kilometers long, and capacity is still a bottle neck);

  • worries by Tennet (the grid operator) that it won't be able to finance the new series of cables it needs to build after 2015 (those to be built by then are already financed and will thus be built, so the first 1-2 GW of Geramn offshore is assured to get its connection). This is a regulatory dispute as to what is a reasonable rate of return for that investment and how it should be paid for. The German government is working on the issue and I'm pretty sure it will be solved in due time.


Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 05:13:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good report. Promising developments. Have you any handy tables/charts comparing on/off shore wind as a proportion of total electricity production by country? Or trends both past and planned? I'm trying to get a handle on the trends in the proportional contribution of wind to the total electricity supply mix.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 12:31:36 PM EST
the statistics are available, but they are without significant meaning at this stage. 2011 capacity installations are not yet available (except for the release of the offshore report) though they will come in the next days. But the EU-27 will not reach 100,000 MW cumulative for the past year, though close.

So the offshore totals of 3,800 have a still relatively minor effect on total output. Also, the majority of offshore projects are in the same lands with the greatest concentration of onshore wind.

Each MW of offshore wind will have a greater effect on % of generation though, as capacity factors for offshore, hovering above 40%, greatly exceed capacity factors onshore, which range from 23% to the mid 30s.

So, the distinction between onshore and offshore as a percent of total demand is too soon to really quantify.

The latest numbers for the whole mix should be available within days. The press conference in Berlin for the German numbers will be 26 Jan.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 01:06:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Many thanks. It would also be interesting to compare capacity utilisation factors for wind with gas, coal and nuclear plants!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 01:46:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yu can find the actual capacity numbers for Germany (2008) in this comment by DoDo in an old diary.

Offshore wind in the North Sea is at least at 40%, so as much as (load following) gas and coal but much more than onshore wind.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 02:12:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From a Spanish site:


The offshore wind power capacity installed by the end of 2011 will produce, in a normal wind year, 14 TWh of electricity, enough to cover 0.4% of the EU's total consumption.

The UK is by far the largest wind energy market with 2,094 MW installed, representing over half of all installed offshore wind farm capacity in Europe. Denmark follows with 857 MW (23%), then the Netherlands (247 MW, 6%), Germany (200 MW, 5%), Belgium (195, 5%), Sweden (164, 4%), Finland (26 MW in near-shore projects) and Ireland 25 MW. Norway and Portugal both have a full-scale e floating turbine (2.3 MW and 2 MW respectively).



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 02:44:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile, on the photovoltaics front: miraculously, a consensual solution to the problem of rate-change bubbles seems to materialise.

Last year, 7.5 GW of solar power capacity was installed in Germany, of this 3 MW in December alone, ahead of a pre-scheduled annual 15% cut in the feed-in rate at the end of the year. I summed up how and why rate-change bubbles emerge, and also the connected politics, five days ago; I won't repeat it here, only the solution I suggested then: more modest but more frequent rate cuts, in a monthly or quarterly frequency.

Now, the last rate-change bubble also emboldened Germany's federal economy minister Philipp Rösler, who is also the leader of the neoliberal and anti-solar FDP party, in his calls for another massive one-off rate cut (which would either kill the market [as intended] or produce yet another massive rate-change bubble, depending on how fast the industry can cut prices further). Yesterday, ahead of talks with the federal environment minister, the solar industry responded by preparing a counter-proposal which was identical with my suggestion:

WDH/'FTD': Solarbranche legt eigenen Kürzungsvorschlag vor | FTD.de WDH /'FTD': solar industry presents own reduction proposal | FTD.de
Das neue Modell der stetigen Kürzung soll den Zubau reduzieren. Bisher wird die Einspeisevergütung immer zum 1. Juli und zum 1. Januar gekürzt. Davor kommt es regelmäßig zu enormen Schlussverkaufseffekten, die in Zukunft vermieden werden sollen. Noch unklar ist, ob die Anpassung in Zukunft vierteljährlich oder monatlich erfolgen soll. Aus Sicht der Branche ließe sich so das Marktgeschehen verstetigen.The new model of continuous reduction is designed to reduce annual new installations. Until now, the feed-in tariff is reduced on 1 July and 1 January. Prior to [these reductions] usually enormous clearance sale effects occur, which are to be avoided in the future. It is still unclear whether in future the adjustment should be made quarterly or monthly. From the perspective of the industry, this would be the weay to stabilize the market.

The news today is that the environment minister seems to have accepted the proposal and even "owned" it, which almost ensures that this will be the government's proposal instead of the one-off rate cut:

PV-Gipfel: Röttgen plant kurzfristige Anpassungen der EEG-Vergütung - IWR PV summit: Röttgen plans short-term adjustments to the feed-in law rates - IWR
Berlin - Bundesumweltminister Norbert Röttgen hat sich mit Vertretern der Solarwirtschaft getroffen, um vor dem Hintergrund der hohen Zubauzahlen über mögliche Anpassungen EEG-Vergütung von PV-Anlagen und die weitere Marktentwicklung zu beraten. [...] Röttgen will die Photovoltaik-Förderung im EEG in Zukunft nun monatlich, mindestens aber quartalsweise anpassen.Berlin - Federal environment minister Norbert Röttgen has met with representatives of the solar industry to talk about feed-in law rates and further market development against the backdrop of high new installations of PV systems. [...] Röttgen wants to adapt the promotion of photovoltaics in the feed-in law each month or at least each quarter in the future.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 04:15:11 AM EST
The danger here is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

On the chance that the solar price cuts somewhat mirror those in wind, some portion of the cuts are only to retain market share, and do not reflect actual production cost drop. This is dangerous to the margins of many companies, as we see with Vestas.

In wind Siemens and GE (and Alstom and Areva) are large enough and spread in all manner of other industries to absorb the margin cuts for some time, but the second tier companies and/or those only in wind are not. Nordex and REpower for example are also in tough times, as are the Spanish companies.

To the degree the cuts reflect economies of scale or technology efficiencies, such a program works. it's reasonable to suspect that even in solar that is not fully the case.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 05:12:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Add to the Wind Power series

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 09:24:28 AM EST


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