Trade and conference organisation Messe Husum organised a chaired round of discussions on the future of wind power as part of the HUSUM WindEnergy exhibition. Politicians, power suppliers and manufacturers from Germany, Denmark and China discussed some of the industry’s most important topics. Heading the talks was Professor Dr. Jochen Twele, wind power expert and lecturer at HTW Berlin University of Applied Sciences.
Excess wind power for heating
The Danish government intends to double wind power’s share in national production by 2020 so that it accounts for 50%. “We want excess wind energy to be used in cost-efficient electric boilers,” says wind pioneer Preben Maegaard, Director of the Nordic Folkecenter for Renewable Energies, during the discussions. This would allow wind power to be sold at at least the same price as the fuel saved.
“Until now, producers have had to sell off their excess wind power to the Energy Exchange at bad prices, or switch off their turbines. Because around 105 terawatt hours of power are needed for heating in Denmark each year, district heating represents a considerable market for the absorption of renewable energy peaks,” added Maegaard.
Halting the euro crisis with wind power
Hans-Josef Fell, Member of the German Bundestag and Energy Spokesman for Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen, sees things similarly. “The euro crisis is an oil crisis. Oil, gas and coal imports to the eurozone are more expensive than the expansion of renewable energies, and the cost of fossil fuel is rising.”
And, he says, wind power is the main driver behind renewables in Germany. “The euro crisis shows that it is much more expensive to stop the transformation of the energy sector. But if we keep that transformation going we will be able to supply Germany fully with renewable energies within only 15 years.”
Creating 40,000 kilometres of new high voltage lines
The Chinese power grid was straining at the seams in 2011 because of the tremendous expansion of wind power. At 62.4 gigawatts of installed power, China is the world’s biggest wind market, and it also grew its production capacity more than any other country last year by adding 17.6 gigawatts to its tally.
“To keep the wind market growing, the Chinese government is pushing forward the expansion of high voltage lines,” explained Wu Gang, Chairman, Managing Director and President of Chinese company Goldwind. “The current five-year plan envisages the completion of 40,000 kilometres of new HV lines by 2015.”
Gaining acceptance for wind power through industrialisation
Mike Winkel, Managing Director of E.ON Climate & Renewables, believes that the wind industry faces several challenges. “Wind turbines are still mainly isolated engineering achievements. We are working with manufacturers to standardise and industrialise the processes involved, from planning, to production, to the building of plants. Industrialising these things enables us to produce in larger quantities and reduce the cost of building and operation. This is central to the success of energy policy transformation: only if costs continue to fall will we be able to keep burdens down for consumers and secure acceptance for the continued expansion of wind power.”
Press release, September 21, 2012; Image: HUSUM WindEnergy/Messe Husum & Congress