‘European cooperation could provide more stable wind power’. So says a new Imperial College study. Co-author Dr Iain Staffell, from Imperial’s Centre for Environmental Policy, said: ‘Some weather regimes are characterised by storms rolling in from the Atlantic bringing high winds to northwest or southwest Europe, but these are accompanied by calm conditions in the east. Other regimes see calmer weather from the Atlantic and a huge drop in wind production in Germany, the British Isles and Spain. But at the same time, wind speeds consistently increase in southeast Europe, and this is why countries such as Greece could act as a valuable counterbalance to Europe’s current wind farms.’ The study notes that today’s wind farms are heavily concentrated in countries bordering the North Sea. This results in uneven wind electricity generation, because most capacity is installed in neighbouring countries with similar weather conditions. A further concentration of capacity in the North Sea region is planned in the near future, which will exacerbate the problems for Europe’s power system, say the researchers. However, if European countries were to cooperate and set up future wind farms based on understanding of the continent-scale weather regimes, fluctuations in future wind energy could be reduced.
Environmental Research Web 30th Dec 2017 read more »
Europe’s renewable energy industry is used to breaking records for generating more power from low carbon sources. Yet two recent milestones stand out. Vattenfall, the Swedish energy group, and Norway’s Statoil were among the companies that took the market by surprise before Christmas when they bid in the world’s first exclusively subsidy-free offshore wind auction, held by the Dutch government. There were similar landmark bids in a German offshore wind auction in April, when Orsted, the Danish energy giant previously known as Dong Energy, and Germany’s Energie Baden-Württemberg became the first companies to offer to build schemes by 2024 that would rely on market power prices alone. The German and Dutch auctions have given policymakers across the continent hope that the industry’s reliance on government-guaranteed electricity prices could soon come to an end. Such subsidies are funded through consumer and industry energy bills. In markets such as the UK, subsidy-free bids are further off because developers have to meet certain costs, such as connecting projects to the electricity grid. This is met by the grid operator in Holland. But optimists argue that, while subsidy-free offshore wind may still be the exception rather than the rule, the break with government funding is finally in sight, even if it may come for other forms of renewable energy first. The first solar power farm in the UK to be built without government support was opened in September and analysts suggest subsidy-free onshore wind projects in Britain are close.
FT 31st Dec 2017 read more »
TenneT, the Dutch equivalent of the UK’s National Grid, is thinking about future offshore wind power for a decade or more from now. It proposes to construct a man-made island on Dogger Bank in the middle of the North Sea to act as a distribution hub for electricity generated by a massive offshore wind farm. The island would be used to convert the AC current received from the wind turbines to DC current, which would then be sent via undersea cable to the Netherlands and the UK. Eventually, additional cables could send power to any country bordering the North Sea.
Clean Technica 30th Dec 2017 read more »