Monday, December 17, 2007

Wind News Galore

Too bad its all in Europe.

First up, the UK has announced a plan to open the entire coastline of that country for offshore wind development. I've seen conflicting numbers about how much power generation is anticipated as a percentage of usage, but the dominant ones have been 50% and 100% of residential power use. Also not clear if that's installed capacity, which for wind farms usually only performs at 30-40% efficiency. (eg: for every 3MW capacity installed, generally 1MW is the average instantaneous output over the course of a year). According to Earth2Tech, the UK "hopes for an installed capacity of 33 gigawatts by 2020, or enough to power all the homes in the UK." However, the article on TreeHugger indicates generation of 33GW, a very different thing. According to the Guardian, the target is to generate enough power for 25m homes, not all homes and to work towards meeting the 20% renewable energy standard set by the EU.

Next, according to Jerome a Paris, writing on DailyKOS, Germany has guaranteed wind prices at 14c/kWh (euro cent) to wind power plants selling to the grid. Mr. a Paris also discusses the future development of offshore wind power in Europe, with the UK expected to outstrip everyone else in installed capacity. In an analysis of wind development in the US, his conclusion is that mostly the US has enough space, and higher wind speeds than Europe so can make use of more onshore farms, except in areas like the Northeast with higher population densities. And no talk of the US wind market is complete without a mention of the on again off again instability of the Production Tax Credit (PTC), essentially the subsidy wind developers get or generating power.

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