'Recovery packages must make clean-energy a cornerstone of the new global economy'
As Covid-19 restrictions ease, Europe is working on its recovery script, with renewables in the starring role.
As Covid-19 restrictions begin to ease in many countries, Europe is actively working on its recovery script, with renewables cast in the starring role. The recently announced European recovery fund is expected to invest massively in the green transition: this could include loans for commercial investments, as well as potential grants for new renewable technologies.
This emphasis on renewables sends two clear messages: one, in 2020, ‘green’ means economic development; and, two, we need new, flexible renewables technologies – including those classed as ‘ocean energy’ – alongside large volumes of wind and PV, to help match electricity supply with demand.
Many voices have joined the call for a climate-centred approach to economic recovery packages. Analysis from the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at the University of Oxford published last week showed conclusively that clean-energy investments deliver higher returns, in both the short and long term, than conventional fiscal stimulus.
Today, there are more European jobs in electricity production from wind energy than from gas. This is partly because building devices such as turbines is more labour intensive than simply burning large quantities of fuel. It is also because the renewable industry is investing at home, rather than lining the pockets of Russian oligarchs.
As for newer renewable energy technologies, ocean energy can provide another 400,000 jobs across Europe by 2050 – not only for skilled maritime workers, but for companies throughout the supply chain.
So, the question that a few are asking – do we have enough money to invest in climate action in times of economic crisis? – is simply passé. Climate action equals economic recovery.
All recent major models of the future energy system, from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) to analysts BNEF, show Europe running on between 80-100% renewable energy in 2050. Even the International Energy Agency, which has long used modelling that underestimated renewable markets, has come around – albeit still with conservative estimates. In other parts of the world, the future share of renewables is still anticipated to be well above 50-60%, as deployments are set to dramatically increase.
A two-track approach is needed to realise these scenarios, as proposed by the European Commission. Mature renewables like wind power and PV will generate the bulk of low-cost, emissions-free energy for consumers. And alongside those, now is the moment to widely deploy a second-generation of renewables, such as wave, tidal and OTEC (ocean thermal energy conversion) or SWAC (sea water air conditioning).
Ocean energy technologies embody the dual goals of a ‘green recovery’: their climate credentials are clear, with the added value of producing at different times from wind and solar, thereby smoothing out production patterns.
By 2050, ocean energy can provide 100GW of Europe’s power, equal to 10% of the current electricity demand.
Ocean energy is already building that future. Tidal energy developers are ramping up power output and scaling up pilot farms, with the flagship MeyGen project recently reaching 28 GWh of production – and spurring expansion of a 80MW array that would supply power to a commercial-scale data centre.
Global decarbonisation would cost $130trn by 2050 but repay capital spend: Irena
The American Wind Energy Association has released their fourth-quarter 2019 market report, and the numbers are going in the right direction. The wind industry is on the rise in the US, with installations for the year at 9,143MW.
There is now 105,583MW of wind energy operating in the US, with nearly 60,000 wind turbines spinning across 41 states and two US territories.
Here are the takeaways, for those of you who love stats:
IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency, has published a new report on wind energy, “Future of the Wind”.
Below are some highlights of the work:
The accelerated deployment of wind power, together with significant electrification, could provide a large part (6.3 Gt) of the annual reductions in CO2 emissions required by 2050.
Wind energy can cover more than a third of the world’s energy needs (35%), which adapts to the world’s main power generation. To achieve this goal, the capacity of wind turbines installed in the world must reach 6,000 gigawatts, more than 10 times the current level, by 2050. This would include 5,000 GW of wind power on land and 1,000 GW of offshore wind farm plants.
Asia is on the list to become the dominant wind energy market in the world, representing more than 50% of the country’s wind farms and 60% in 2050. Wind power capacity in the land of Asia could grow from 230 GW in 2018 to more than 2,600 GW in 2050.
The transformation resulting from this enormous growth in wind energy could bring socio-economic benefits. The global wind industry is driving the creation of new products and could employ more than six million people worldwide by 2050, compared to the current milestone.
Spain has 23,484 MW of wind power after growing 392 MW in 2018 v the CSIC confirms that the country is entering an era of wind speed increase, which increases interest in this technology.
Wind energy has become in the last five years one of the main technologies of the energy system in Spain, providing 19% of the electricity consumed, which is equivalent to 12 million homes, and is the second technology of the system. The estimate for 2020, once the wind turbines facilities from the last auctions are launched, is that wind farm will become the first energy source in Spain. Wind generation has represented between 18% and 21% of demand coverage in Spain in recent years, a country that continues to import, and pay for, electricity.
In Spain there are 23,484 MW of wind power installed. In 2018, the power increase was 392 MW, more than what was installed in the 2013-2017 period. Wind power adds value to the country’s economy, creating quality employment (more than 23,900 people), reducing CO2 emissions (avoiding the emission of 26 million tons / year) and stimulating local investment, as well as reducing Electricity market price at 6.8 / Mwh in 2018, according to data from the Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE).
A study in which the Desertification Research Center (CIDE) has participated – joint center of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), the University of Valencia and the Generalitat Valenciana-, addresses changes in wind speed over the continents on a planetary scale, with emphasis on the northern hemisphere. The work, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, demonstrates that the wind speed has been reinforced in recent years, with positive consequences in the production of wind energy, after decades of decline in its speed, a phenomenon known with the term stilling .
In this work, in which 15 scientists from different international institutions have collaborated, and which has started from wind series obtained in meteorological stations around the world since the late 1970s, he concludes that «the decrease in wind speed on surfaces continental has been interrupted since 2010, and a strengthening of winds on a planetary scale is detected from then on, ”says CSIC researcher César Azorín Molina, one of the authors of the study.
Wind intensification has been three times higher than the decrease observed from 1978 to 2010, and has had a very positive impact on the increase in wind power potential in the United States, Europe and China, among others. Wind is a substitute source for the use of fossil fuels to curb CO2 emissions and limit global warming well below the two-degree threshold established in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
According to the coordinator of the study, Zhenzhong Zeng, from Princeton University, “deepening the causes behind these changes in atmospheric circulation and winds represents a scientific challenge due to their socio-economic and environmental impacts.” “In addition, predicting these climatic cycles of strengthening and weakening winds in advance is key to optimizing wind energy production in the future,” he adds.
Wind power is the main renewable energy source in the national electricity system. It provides more than 50% of all renewable energy and, in a climate crisis scenario like the current one, it has a long way to go. The current Energy and Climate Plan of the Government is expected to double the installed capacity in 2030 compared to that installed in 2015, from 23,000 MW versus 50,000 MW.
Wind turbines are usually grouped in concentrations called wind farms in order to achieve a better use of energy, which reduces their environmental impact. It is an inexhaustible and indigenous source of energy that in 2018 supplied electricity to 19% of Spain, that is, electricity equivalent to 12 million homes.
The 23,484 MW of wind power in Spain are spread over 1,123 wind farms spread across 807 municipalities throughout the country. It is the engine of the rural communities in which it is installed.
The wind energy sector contributes more than 3,394 million euros to the national GDP, contributing to exports in more than 2,391 million euros. Currently, the group of promoters and producers is the subsector with the highest contribution to GDP in the Spanish wind sector with 1,461 million euros (2017 figure).
Wind power creates quality employment (more than 22,500 people), reduces CO2 emissions (prevents the emission of 25 million tons / year) and stimulates local investment. Spain is the fourth exporter of wind turbines and fifth for installed power in the world with 23,484 Mw, in addition to being the second technology in the energy mix, with the aforementioned 19% coverage of electricity demand.
The R&D effort made by the wind sector is much higher than the average of the Spanish economy and is also above the national and European targets for 2020. Since 2004, 1,065 patents related to generation technology have been published wind. It is an industry that continues to play a very positive role in the Spanish economy and society: it generates economic value and quality employment, exports goods and equipment, contributes to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, reduces energy dependence and develops a relevant activity in R&D.
Over 47 per cent of energy was generated by wind turbines in 2019.
Almost half of Denmark’s electricity consumption was harnessed from wind energy in 2019, setting a new record.
The country’s grid operator Energinet announced on Thursday that just over 47 per cent of energy was generated by wind turbines, up from 41 per cent in 2018.
Power generated by wind turbines at sea increased to 18 per cent last year from 14 per cent in 2018, while onshore wind accounted for 29 per cent.
Denmark is a world leader in renewable energy and is way ahead of its nearest rival Ireland, which generated 28 per cent of its energy from wind in 2018.
Wind energy is the second largest form of power generation capacity in Europe, producing 14 per cent of electricity in the European Union, according to data by wind energy advocacy group, Wind Europe.
The largest wind farm in Denmark and Scandinavia, Horns Rev 3, was opened in August and supplies power to 425,000 Danish homes.
The offshore wind farm is based in the North Sea and contributed to Denmark’s higher wind energy production.re about to witness a renewable energy revolution
Denmark plans to launch an even bigger wind farm called Kriegers Flak in the Danish Baltic Sea in 2021 and is also working on three further offshore wind projects, reported renewable energy news site Recha
The country’s left-wing coalition government raised their climate targets in July and aim to reduce emissions by 70 per cent by 2030.
More than three-quarters of Irish people are in favour of wind energy, according to a survey carried out by Interactions on behalf of the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA).
The poll found that 79% back wind power, with 52% strongly in favour of the technology.
Only 4% of respondents oppose wind energy, with 2% strongly opposing the sector.
The main reasons for supporting wind energy were helping the environment, a readily available energy source, renewable energy, addressing climate change and cost efficiencies.
IWEA chief executive David Connolly said: “It’s no wonder that wind energy is so popular when it cuts our CO2 emissions, cuts our electricity prices and creates jobs and investment across the country.
“Initial estimates are that wind energy provided just under a third of the country’s electricity last year, which is the highest level on record, and we look forward to growing that as new wind farms – onshore and offshore – are developed in the coming decade.”
IWEA highlighted the contradiction between the high levels of support for wind energy and government proposals that it said would undermine the sector's future growth.
Connolly added: “At the very moment we need to be developing wind energy at record levels the government, through restrictive new planning guidelines, is undermining efforts to achieve its own targets for renewable electricity.
“The draft wind energy planning guidelines published before Christmas by Minister Eoghan Murphy and Minister Richard Bruton would make it more difficult and more expensive to develop renewable energy and to cut Ireland’s CO2 emissions.
“In particular, the proposed new noise levels, potentially the harshest in Europe, will cost every person in Ireland an extra €550 in order to hit our 2030 climate action targets.
“It is hard to understand how proposals like this could be brought forward during a ‘climate emergency’.
Today’s poll findings confirm that using wind energy to produce electricity is incredibly popular.
“More and more people appreciate the benefits of a cheap, indigenous source of carbon-free electricity and want to see Ireland leading in the fight against climate change.”
The survey also found that 55% of respondents would support a wind farm being developed in their area, with the same percentage saying climate change would greatly or somewhat influence how they vote in the next election.
The top three reasons for backing local wind farms were that it would be 'good for the environment’, that there was ‘no reason to be against’ and ‘social responsibility’.
Connolly said: “Under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme to be rolled out later this year communities will see even more advantages from local wind farms including substantial increases in community benefit funding and the opportunity to invest in their local wind farm.
“Climate change will be the single greatest challenge for our society and the biggest issue for policymakers in the next few years.
“It is clear that candidates and parties putting forward policies designed to tackle climate change, including supporting renewable energy like wind power, will be rewarded for it on election day.”
New Zealand is using less non-renewable energy according to a government report.
But a question mark hangs over the pace of future progress, with resource consent for some long-planned wind farms soon to expire.
Renewable energy sources such as hydro, wind and geothermal power plants accounted for 84 per cent of the country's electricity generation in the year to the end of December, according to an annual report produced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
That was up from 82 per cent in 2017 and thanks in part to record output from geothermal plants and increases in home-solar generation.
That also meant renewable energy accounted for 40 per cent of the country's total energy consumption for the first time.
Much of the remaining 60 per cent is accounted for by petrol and jet fuel used for transport, and coal and gas used in industrial processes, for example by NZ Steel and Fonterra.
Energy Minister Megan Woods said more than $650 million had been committed to new renewable generation "for the coming year".
Enough wind farms have received resource consent to add the equivalent of 45 per cent of the country's current hydro-electric capacity, or 1800 megawatts, to the electricity supply.
"That means we are well placed for growth in renewable generation in the years ahead," Woods said.
However, it appears possible that consents for most of that extra wind capacity will lapse before those wind farms are built.
Almost half of the 1800MW of consented wind energy is accounted for by a massive 850MW wind farm that Genesis Energy has permission to build by 2023 at Castle Hill in the Wairarapa.
Genesis – which is the operator of the coal and gas-fired Huntly power station – has not provided an update on that potential development since 2013 and spokeswoman Emma-Kate Greer said in July that it had "no immediate construction plans".
If the wind farm was developed in future, Genesis' existing consents would need to be altered to take advantage of improvements in wind generation in the past five years, Greer said.
Another 130MW is accounted for by Meridian Energy's proposed Central Wind farm near Ruapehu.
Consent for that development, which was received in 2008, is due to expire in January and construction has not yet started.
Meridian says the development may proceed when "market conditions are right".
The construction of a number of the other wind farms within their consented periods appears uncertain.
Contact Energy let consent for a massive 540MW wind farm on the Waikato Coast lapse, spokesman Andrew Austin confirmed in August, but is pressing ahead with investment in other renewables.
Wind would play a big role in New Zealand's energy future, but Contact believed geothermal energy was "the best first step" in further decarbonising electricity generation "as it is low cost and not weather dependent", he said then.
Woods has set a goal of achieving 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035, though some in the industry remain sceptical.
She intends to publish a discussion paper on renewable energy strategy later this year that will be designed to set a path to boosting renewable generation and reducing the use of fossil fuels in industrial applications.
Genesis now plans to stop burning coal at Huntly by 2030, but chief executive Marc England said in May that was a goal and not a promise. chief executive Marc England said in May that was a goal and not a promise.
The New Zealand Government has recognised the importance of renewable generation; its current energy strategy includes a target of 90% electricity from renewable sources by 2025 up from around 75% today.
Achieving this target requires a substantial increase in renewable generation – renewable electricity needs to grow much faster than electricity demand.
The use of these renewable energy resources will be important for New Zealand’s economy.
The country is fortunate in having ample supplies of renewable energy resources to help meet future energy demand. These renewable resources can shield the economy from global price and supply issues associated with fossil fuels. They can help combat climate change.
Renewable energy also ties in strongly with New Zealand’s clean and green image around the world, supporting tourism and providing other business opportunities.
New Zealand has much of its electricity supply ‘eggs in one basket’, with hydro supplying two thirds of our electricity needs. Our geothermal resources are also well developed. But it is hard to see how these technologies can continue meeting all the increasing electricity demand. Development sites for large hydro dams are becoming very hard to secure.
New Zealand is coming to the end of sites for cheap “brownfield” geothermal development – although there may be plenty of new geothermal potential it will be more expensive and uncertain than previous development.
In terms of renewable electricity generation, wind is likely to play a very significant role over the next 20 years.
This country’s wind resource is one of the best in the world; in fact, the Global Wind Energy Council calls our wind resources “spectacular”. We have only scratched the surface of its potential.
Although the New Zealand wind industry is still young, wind generation technology itself has come of age. Wind power already produces 5% of the country’s electricity. That figure is predicted to grow because New Zealand has a lot of wind, it is a very cost effective form of new generation, and many onshore development sites are available. Investment in new wind farms makes economic sense for generators.
In 2011 a report showed that existing wind farms have long run marginal costs that make them among the best choices for delivering low cost electricity, and Bloomberg showed that costs are continuing to fall. Looking out into the future, turbine manufacturers say that because of technology improvements, operations and maintenance costs will be much lower than in the earlier years of the wind industry.
Read more of the NZ Wind Energy Association 'Wind Energy Report' here
OFFSHORE WIND POWER COULD PRODUCE MORE ELECTRICITY THAN WORLD USES, SAYS INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY
A new report from the International Energy Agency claims that wind power could be a $1 trillion business by 2040 and that the power provided by the green technology has the potential to outstrip global energy needs.
The IEA report looks at the business of wind power and opines that as investment increases and the technology becomes cheaper, the sector could explode.
'The IEA finds that global offshore wind capacity may increase 15-fold and attract around $1 trillion of cumulative investment by 2040. This is driven by falling costs, supportive government policies and some remarkable technological progress, such as larger turbines and floating foundations. That's just the start—the IEA report finds that offshore wind technology has the potential to grow far more strongly with stepped-up support from policy makers'.
Read more here
Investigations into the suitability of the Tirohia site for the proposed Kaimai Wind Farm began in 2005 although CEO Glenn Starr admits research into the ideal site began many years earlier.
“The need to generate power from environmentally sustainable sources is a concept most Kiwis embrace but this is often accompanied by a desire for the sources of that generation to be out of sight.
“However, the reality is that while there are lots of remote locations in New Zealand, they are mostly constrained by their remoteness from the national grid and transport routes. To be viable, wind farms in New Zealand need to be of moderate scale (to fit into the demand gap in the market) and be close to roads and grid; they obviously also need to be sited where there is an excellent wind resource.”
Glenn Starr said the three privately owned properties which are the site of the proposed wind farm have the right topography, adjacency to the national grid and have the potential wind strength and consistency.
“In 2005 we erected a 20m tall monitoring mast on the site to measure wind strength. Initial results supported the erection of two further monitoring masts (50m and 60m tall). Data received over the intervening years has confirmed the site has the wind strength and consistency needed for a viable wind farm.
“The site of the proposed farm adjoins DOC forest park land which has significant bush cover that provides habitat to indigenous bats and birds. There are also scattered bush remnants on the site property which have the potential to provide some habitat. To gain an informed understanding of the ecology, acoustic receivers were installed in several locations in 2007 to measure resident populations and movement. More than a decade on we have a pretty comprehensive set of information on bird and bat numbers and movement – data which has helped us in the placement of the proposed turbines and in developing mitigations to minimize impact.”
Glenn Starr said a range of investigations have taken place over the last decade to test the suitability of the site, including slope stability, landscape and wind.
“All of these insights have enabled us to tailor the proposal to the environment. For example, the original proposal was for around 60 small turbines but technological advances in turbine design, combined with indepth knowledge of the site, has enabled us to come up with a design concept which will, hopefully, see 24 turbines generate power – enough for around 50,000 homes.”
Glenn Starr said all of the research conducted to test the suitability of the site is now public and can be accessed on the Hauraki District Council website.
“Our application for consent to construct and operate the wind farm has been lodged with the Hauraki District and Waikato Regional Councils with a Hearing, hopefully, later this year.
“In the meantime, we will continue to work with the wider Paeroa community to understand and, hopefully, alleviate any concerns.
“The proposed Kaimai Wind Farm aligns with the Government’s plan for a renewable, sustainable energy for all New Zealanders.”
Kaimai Wind Farm Ltd has lodged resource consent applications with Hauraki District Council and Waikato Regional Council for consent to establish and operate a 24 turbine wind farm on the northern reaches of the Kaimai Ranges at Tirohia (south of Paeroa).
The resource consent application to the Hauraki District Council seeks consent to all land-use activities associated with the construction and operation of the proposed wind farm.
The application site covers 771 and 604 Rotokohu Road and 6356 SH26 (1304 hectares).
The proposed turbines, which are of two different sizes, have a hub height of 110m and 130m. Each turbine has three rotors measuring 146m and 160m respectively. The total height of the turbines, when measured from the base to the tips, equates to 180m and 207m respectively.
Proposed associated structures include a substation, two lattice transmission towers, two overhead lines, and 18.9km of roading – all within the application site.
Earthworks will include 900,000m3 of cut material and 113,500m3 of engineered fill.
It is estimated that 53,000m3 of finishing aggregate will be needed for the on-site roads. This is proposed to be obtained from roading excavations and one on-site quarry.
The main site access is proposed to be from the south- from Wright Road, which comes off Rawhiti Road – the turbine parts are proposed to be transported from Tauranga, through Matamata-Piako District to the site. All other construction and materials transport traffic is also proposed to access the site from Wright Road.
The resource consent application to the Waikato Regional Council seeks consent to specific aspects of land use – removal of vegetation, earthworks, to permit the discharge of surplus soil and surface water associated with the construction phase of the project and culvert upgrades.