Posts Tagged ‘wind’


German wind conference

Thursday 20 December, 2012

The German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest hosted a Wind Energy Business Conference with a focus on supply chain & service industries.  Nico Heinemen, of the Federal Ministry of Economics & Technology, greeted everyone & provided the 20 year history of wind energy in Germany & how the German government has supported it’s development.  They had 4 objectives:  1.  disseminate expertise 2. advance renewable energies  3.  boost the wind energy market  4.  provide comprehensive support for German companies.  60% found partners & they reduced the cost of entering the market by 30%.

Janos Buechner, of Energiewaechter, added that an additional aim was knowledge transfer.  His organization sponsors trips to Germany for research which lead to pilot projects.  In reaction to the Fukishima disaster, Germany will eliminate nuclear power by 2022.  72% of energy is used to simply heat space, so more R&D is needed on energy storage, efficiency, & grid expansion.  12.5% of energy consumed is of renewable energy, wind provides 2%, biomass 8.4%.  Renewables are 20% of the electricity market.  The benefits of more wind energy are less fossil fuels & more jobs.  40% of owners/investors in renewable energies are private individuals, 11% are farmers.  93% of Germans want an intensified energy turnaround.

Tom Lange, Policy Advisor to the German Wind Energy Association (DWEA), noted that DWEA is the largest wind association in the world with 20K members.  Cumulatively by 2012, the German wind industry has provided 30,016.47 MW of power with 22K wind turbines.  Germany has an installed capacity of 29K MW;  Spain is next in Europe with 22K MW, & then France @ 7K MW.  In 2012, Germany had 102K jobs in the wind sector.  Germany has led a big media campaign for wind energy & creating new standards for grid expansion & storage.  Europe has a pilot grid, but needs a common EU energy policy.  Improvements in wind-turbine technology have resulted in turbines growing from 100m high which produce 600kw of power in 1995 to 180m which produce 2K kw of power now.  German expertise leads in forecasting in complex terrains like forests, using new materials, technology integration, & test facilities.  Challenges in offshore wind production are logistics, cable connections, grid expansion, & financing.  The outlook for wind energy depends on Germany’s 2013 elections &  common EU wind energy growth decrease.

Dr. Nancy Dahlke, of Key Wind Energy, discussed operations & maintenance (O&M) of wind farms in Europe.  The main difference is inthe costs between being reactive to solve problems or using reliability-based service which seeks to eliminate problems before they occur.   Condition-based maintenance requires CMS, a Condition Monitoring System.  The best is to combine a reliability-based system with CMS.  Siemens earns the highest grades for service & Enercon the worst.  Full maintenance contracts are being required by banks.  Costs vary by manufacturer.  An energy information/distribution center provides status reports, scheduling of maintenance tasks.  All this requires highly-qualified staff, so it helps to minimize employee turnover.  This increases predictability & accuracy.  Wind farm operators are becoming energy traders.  As quality requirements increase, maintenance is becoming more important than repair.

Luke Lewandowski, of Make Consulting, offered an overview of the American wind energy market.  The long-term policy outlook is unclear while macroeconomic trends create headwinds.  Services markets are optimistic.  Comprehensive tax reform is expected soon.  Growth is supported by renewable energy standards programs.  2007-2012 were big building years.  A new comprehensive energy policy is needed.   2-5 year warranties which have been driving the market are set to expire.  As the installed base grows, it slows growth.  As the serviceable market grows, so does competition.  The US market can be divided into 3 segments with advantages & disadvantages for each:  2011->2016

  1. 1. independent service providers 16%->12%
  2. 2. turbine OEM’s (GE, Siemens) 48%->42%
  3. 3.  self-performers 36%->46%

For all, financial & technical risks must be balanced.  Wind service business models evolve into hybrids of those just mentioned.  The largest US owners favor self-performance service.  It’s the owners who are learning service that are driving warranties.  Overcapacity is driving OEM’s to diversify & focus on O&M.  Turbine OEM’s are serving warranty extensions.

Kimberley Smith informed us that Acciona Energy works in 13 countries on 5 continents with 225 wind farms, 6K wind turbines.  They’ve achieved this by using a global multi-sourcing strategy.  The US challenge is how to excel when going from a Boom market to a Gloom market.  Supply chain management points to increasing globalization over localization, systems overcoming tiers, & necessitating industrial standards.

Martin Lubahn, of Winergy Drive Systems, let us know US content in wind turbines is 70%.  Growth in Canada & Latin America are offsetting weakness in the American market as service’s importance grows.  Supply chain management requires 90% uptime in North America & ISO 9001 certification.  The life cycle of services logically leads to a focus on costs.  Should a town provide service?  What about spare parts & quality assurance, & reporting?  Decreasing visibility, investment & reaction time come @ the same time as increasing volatility & currency risk in the industry.

The following German companies also made presentations:

  • Rewitec GmbH
  • cmc gmbh
  • Directtech global GmbH
  • windigo GmbH
  • Saarteco GmbH
  • Trendelkamp Technologie GmbH

northern German green technologies

Thursday 18 August, 2011

It’s appropriate that the last international event I attended in Chicago before I left for India was with the Krauts, the 1’s who got me started in all this international stuff. They hosted this event: GREEN TECHNOLOGY: COOPERATION PERSPECTIVES FOR THE US MIDWEST REGION AND NORTHERN GERMANY  Part of the visiting delegation was stuck in Hamburg because of bad weather, but the show did go on.

Chicago’s new mayor Rahm Emanuel made a showing  before he ran off to open a school & noted that German firms employ 36K employees in the Chicagoland area.  On environmental notes, he added that Chicago has the most headquarters of wind companies & the most urban solar farms in the U.S.   He also wants to double the number of LEED certified buildings in Chicago.

You should be able to find most of the information presented @ the conference on the GACCOM website, so I’ll just hit the highlights here.

Frank Horch of the city of Hamburg kicked off by letting us know that his city is the 3rd largest port in Europe & 3rd largest aviation location in the world.  Jan Rispens of Renewable Energies Hamburg (erneuerbare energien hamburg, gmbh) said Germany has set a target of 20% of it’s energy needs served by renewable sources by 2020.  Investments of €20B has created 340K jobs & now creates 17$ of total energy production.  Solar is still expensive, but they are building solar photo-voltaic cell farms.  25 renewables companies in Hamburg employ 4K with a turnover of €5B.  60% of the world’s wind energy know-how is within 2.5 hours drive from Hamburg.

Panel 1:  Vattenfall is the #2 generator of wind power.  15% of their electricity comes from renewables & now they must replace the 20% of electricity that was generated by nuclear power.  Nordex created 200 jobs when they opened their new plant in Arkansas.  They see 25% better wind potential than in Germany.  AWEA has 2500 members & collaborates with EWEA.  Commonwealth Edison will be required by law to provide 20-25% of it’s energy via renewables by 2050.

Panel 2:  Buildings consume 1/2 of all energy consumption & create 1/3 of CO2 emissions.  Heating & cooling take the most energy, so investment in insulation is needed.  While green building of CO2 neutral houses mitigates environmental impact, the more pressing issue is how to make the existing housing stock more efficient.  1.6M ft2 are LEED certified daily in the US.  According to energy modeling data, predicted energy use occupancy goals are not being met.

Panel 3:  Energy transmission & storage are still challenges.  Hydrogen fuel cell technology is coming in the next few years.  There are 3 criteria for electrical/utilities issues:

  1. Whether or not it’s clean energy is a political issue.  Rechargers are 100% renewable.
  2. All users should be entitled to free access.
  3. Charging stations must fit with urban development.

Battery-operated cars are coming to the market before hydrogen powered cars, but hydrogen filling stations are expensive & it’s not certain that there’s a market there yet. Changing traffic lights to LED’s saved 70%.  Hamburg’s Climate Action Plan devotes €25M to these issues from the public budget.  We need to use the 3 S’s:  save, store, & substitute.


German Windenergy conference, the sequel

Tuesday 23 November, 2010

The German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest hosted the WINDENERGY BUSINESS CONFERENCE 2010 .  Videos of the panel discussions & presentations can be found here.  Here’s what they said during their presentations that was not presented on their slides or captured on video:

U. Lohse of Germany’s Renewable Energies Export Initiative just read his slides, so you can consult his presentation to see what he said.

L. Velser  of German Wind Energy Assn:

  • Enercon, Germany’s largest wind energy producer, is expensive but offers good service.  The owner is not a friend of the US, so he focuses on Europe & is building a manufacturing facility in Canada
  • world leader Vesta is having problems with the foundations of its turbines, which must be replaced, which is quite expensive.  Their customers have lost trust & are moving to Enercon
  • 35% of energy comes from renewables in the North & only 25% further South, so they need to promote wind more in the South
  • Baltic Park started up in August with 21 turbines from Siemens.  Installing turbines in the Baltic is tough because there is only a 3 month summer window to get it done
  • Onshore wind generation is most efficient & higher hub heights raise efficiency, pardon the pun
  • Germany’s goal is to get 25% of all energy from wind by 2020
  • 100K demonstrated against nuclear energy, but there is much cross ownership in the energy sector, including between wind & nuclear.

K. Rohrig of Frauenhofer Institute for Wind Energy & Energy System Technology

  • to reduce emissions per capita is unrealistic:  we need to transform our energy supply system & avoid unused heating systems
  • power duration requires energy storage & management, which will require a smart grid in the future
  • weather forecasts must be improved to better provide data on solar & wind potential
  • wind farms need to be managed more like other power plants (wcm=windfarm cluster management)
  • Europe needs to upgrade its power grid (double capacity) for 100% renewables.

K. Lloyd of PNE Wind USA

  • do we have a geographic transmission policy problem in the US?
  • PNE is agnostic to which turbines they use
  • 1500 MW are in the pipeline now
  • JV’s take 2-3 years to put together, greenfield investments take 5 years
  • the political issue is money & jobs
  • 2010 has been 1/2 of 2009
  • the wind tunnel in the US extends from North Dakota to Texas
  • the production tax credit is 1 of the top tax incentives in the US
  • 61% of the voters in California voted not to repeal their commitment to renewables.

E. Weston of the Great Lakes Wind Network

  • GLWN is a group of manufacturers & wind farm construction contractors
  • Canada feels like the US in 2008
  • 87% of the population of Americans want wind power
  • 29 states have enacted wind energy programs
  • we should achieve 20% wind energy production by 2030
  • many gray market turbines infiltrated the market in 2008-9
  • there have been structural changes in sourcing for wind energy:  supply chains are becoming more domesticated as components that were barged over by boats are now being assembled on the Plains
  • successful manufacturers are taking a ruthless approach to cost pressures to become lean while still focusing on service, speed, & responsiveness with a relentless long-term commitment
  • maintenance is a different market focused more on speed than cost:  1/2 of the 20K turbines installed in the US are out of warranty & need spare parts
  • wind farm construction is picking up, but the future depends on Washington
  • Californians voted to sustain goals of 20% renewable energy by 2010 & 33% by 2020.

S. Spethman of Suzlon Wind Energy Corp.

  • Suzlon’s North American headquarters is based in Chicago with assembly in India & has Chinese suppliers nearby & key suppliers in Germany
  • India, China, & Brazil are driving growth
  • 2 year warranties on turbines sold in the US are being negotiated up to 5 years
  • GE had 50% of the market on installations in 2009
  • the huge surplus of natural gas keeps its price down
  • Suzlon spent $70M on logistics moving stuff around
  • technicians can reset systems remotely within 1 hour with real-time monitoring systems
  • customer service levels have dipped 15-20%
  • his advice:
  1. join AWEA
  2. network with your supply chain members
  3. promote US legislation.

German Wind conference

Wednesday 25 November, 2009

I attended the Germany WindEnergy Business Conference & reception.  They are making all of the information that was presented available on their website, so click on to see all of the presentations & video.  I’ll summarize the Q&A so that you don’t have to watch all of the video just to get to those portions.

Wind Energy in Germany:

  • The current energy mix includes 15% renewables in Germany.
  • Small energy providers compete with the big guys by forming local cooperatives with only a few large banks involved.  Renewable energy is not driven by large utilities.
  • Competitive price determination results in ROI’s of 5-10%.
  • There are different tariffs for different energy sources which depend on the site & time frame.
  • Grid system operators pay for the grid’s expansion.
  • Power plant certification only takes weeks rather than months.
  • There are few service technicians & little special vocational training, so there are some turbine maintenance issues.  This is complicated by the fact that there are different work standards across Europe.
  • R&D focuses on bigger turbines which can work more hours each year.
  • Turbines are not permitted on buildings in Germany.
  • The key to reduce greenhouse gases by 40% by 2020 is changing consumption by using energy efficiency plus renewables.
  • Only Massachusetts & Vermont have feed-in tariffs & California is considering 1.

Wind Energy in the US

  • re: key success factors; Europe has better tolerances because they’ve been building their wind industry supply chain for 30 years; GE has 30 casting companies, but none in North America; consistent quality is a given; cash for growth is required; openness & localization help.
  • Germany’s feed-in tariff differentiates itself from the US
  • States are giving grants to support R&D & manufacturing
  • US wind projects are bigger than most others so banking relationships & the size of the projects are key.  It’s easier to sell small projects directly to utilities, but there are extremely large & small projects.  There actually should be small-, medium-, & large-sized wind projects.
  • New technologies should bring greater transmission quality to eliminate 7-8% leakages.  Larger, lighter, cleaner, more reliable turbines, with better diagnostics & aesthetics will come.