Windpower Set Fair to become a Major Manufacturing Industry
29 July 2010
As the oil and gas industry starts to lose its lustre, as BP knows all too well, is the windpower industry star starting to rise? Optimists in the windpower industry believe that providing the infrastructure for green energy generation will be one of the bright lights for manufacturing industry, particularly in North America and Europe where traditional manufacturing has lost out to competition in developing countries.
Earlier this year, figures from reports issued by United Nations Environment Programme and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) showed that for the second consecutive year, both the US and Europe added more power capacity from renewable sources such as wind and solar than conventional sources like coal, gas and nuclear. Further renewable accounted for 60 per cent of newly installed capacity in Europe and more than 50 per cent in the USA in 2009. This year or next, experts predict, the world as a whole will add more capacity to the electricity supply from renewable than non-renewable sources.
For windpower, the Global Wind Energy Council, GWEC, reports that the world’s wind power capacity grew by 31% in 2009, adding 37.5 GW to bring total installations up to 157.9 GW. A third of these additions were made in China, which experienced yet another year of over 100% growth. China surpassed the US in 2009 as the country with the greatest investment in clean energy. China continued its role as the locomotive of the international wind industry and added 13,800 MW within one year – as the biggest market for new turbines – more than doubling its installations for the fourth year in a row.
Two reports UNEP’s “Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2010” and the REN21’s “Renewables 2010 Global Status Report” also show that countries with policies encouraging renewable energy have roughly doubled from 55 in 2005 to more than 100 today – half of them in the developing world – and have played a critically important role in the sector’s rapid growth. In 2009 renewable sources represented 25 per cent of global power (electricity) capacity (1,230 gigawatts (GW) out of 4,800 GW total all sources, including coal, gas, nuclear); 18 per cent of global power production; 60 per cent of newly installed power capacity in Europe and more than 50 per cent in the US. The world as a whole should reach 50 per cent or more in newly-installed power capacity from renewables in 2010 or 2011.
Windpower- key energy player
Wind energy is starting to become an important player in the world’s energy markets. The global wind market for turbine installations in 2009 was worth about 45 bn EUR or 63 bn US$. GWEC estimates that around half a million people are now employed by the wind industry around the world. The statistics say that current installed windpower is 2% of global electricity consumption and wind sector could employ 1 m people by 2012.
This year (2010) will see milestone of 200 GW installed capacity rising to 1,900GW by 2020. Asia added more than 14GW in 2009, thanks to new capacity in India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
In 2009, installed global wind capacity was 158GW of which more than 38GW was added last year. The US has an installed capacity of 35 GW and added 10 GW of that in 2009. Whille some analysts worry that manufacturing in slowing in 2010 in the face of a lack of coherent national policy and market pull to stimulate continued growth. Europe in 2009 installed 10.5 GW, led by Spain (2.5 GW), Germany 1.9 GW, followed by Italy,France and UK all adding more than 1GW. China was the world’s largest market in 2009, nearly doubling its wind generation capacity from 12.1 GW in 2008 to 25.1 GW at the end of 2009 with new capacity additions of 13 GW. China now moved into second position behind the US, and slightly ahead of Germany. Asia accounted for the largest share of new installations (40.4%); followed by North America (28.4%) and Europe (27.3%). Newly added capacity of 1,270 MW in India and some smaller additions in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan make Asia the biggest regional market for wind energy in 2009, with more than 14 GW of new capacity.
“The Chinese government is taking very seriously its responsibility to limit CO2 emissions while providing energy for its growing economy. China is putting strong efforts into developing the country’s tremendous wind resource. Given the current growth rates, it can be expected that the even the unofficial target of 150 GW will be met well ahead of 2020,” Li Junfeng, Secretary General of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association said earlier this year.
“The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all installation records in 2009, chalking up the Recovery Act as a historic success in creating jobs, avoiding carbon, and protecting consumers,” AWEA CEO Denise Bode has reportedly said. “But U.S. wind turbine manufacturing is down compared to last year’s levels, and needs long-term policy certainty and market pull in order to grow.”
Europe, which has traditionally been the world’s largest market for wind energy development, continued to see strong growth, also exceeding expectations. “It is a remarkable result in a difficult year” said Christian Kjaer, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association. “The figures, once again, confirm that wind power, together with other renewable energy technologies and a shift from coal to gas, are delivering massive European carbon reductions, while creating much needed economic activity and new jobs for Europe’s citizens.”
Investments so far in 2010
In July, 2010, the Timken Company received a contract worth US$26 million to supply wind turbine products and services to China’s Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Company, one of the world’s top five wind power equipment manufacturers. In 2009, Goldwind received new wind power capacity orders for about 2,722 megawatts, accounting for approximately 19.7 percent of the wind generation added in China that year. Goldwind’s contract with Timken will support more than 1,500 megawatts of new wind power capacity.
Timken began producing ultra-large bore bearings for wind turbines in Xiangtan, Hunan Province, and retooled and expanded its U.S. facilities in Asheboro, N.C. and Tyger River, S.C. to serve customers in the industry. This is in addition to Timken’s existing wind-bearing production in Wuxi, China; Chennai, India; and Ploiesti, Romania.
In the first quarter of 2010 turbine manufacturers Siemens, Clipper, Mitsubishi and GE all committed to a UK presence. Fundamental to these decisions was the UK’sexcellent market outlook. Considerable follow-on supply chain development is expected in the UK considering the size of the domestic market and the confidence now demonstrated by the turbine manufacturers.
In the US Consumers Energy has signed a contract with Vestas-American Wind Technology, Inc. to supply 56 wind turbine generators for the utility’s Lake Winds Energy Park in Mason County. The wind park is scheduled to begin operation in late 2012. The total installed generation capacity of all 56 units is 100.8 megawatts (MW).
Wind energy is already making a significant contribution to saving CO2 emissions. The 158GW of global wind capacity in place at the end of 2009 will produce 340 TWh of clean electricity and save 204 million tons of CO2 every year. As we see in Europe and the US, wind power is now often the most attractive option for new power generation, both in economic and environmental terms, and for improved supply security.
“The continued rapid growth of wind power despite the financial crisis and economic downturn is testament to the inherent attractiveness of the technology, which is clean, reliable and quick to install. Wind power has become the power technology of choice a growing number of countries around the world,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC’s Secretary General. “Copenhagen didn’t bring us any closer to a global price on carbon, but wind energy continued to grow due to national energy policy in our main markets and also because many governments in prioritised renewable energy development in their economic recovery plans,” he has said.