Wind turbines wring energy
out of a free-flowing fuel supply that may be losing some of its punch. Surface winds appear to be weakening across the Northern Hemisphere, including in the United States, Western Europe, and China—the world’s top three markets for wind power. And climate change threatens to weaken them further during this century as faster warming over northern latitudes trims the temperature gradients that energize airflows.
China could be the hardest hit, according to modeling by University of Texas–Austin research scientist Diandong Ren in the November issue of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy. He projects a 4 to 12 percent decrease in wind speeds in China for the last three decades of the 21st century (compared to the corresponding decades of the 20th). Since the energy in wind increases with the cube of the wind speed, Ren estimates that the slower winds would trim power from Chinese turbines by at least 14 percent.
There is now little doubt …
Published on EcoSeed
posted on Monday, November 22, 2010, by Oliver M. Bayani
Four months and 4,000 entries
into G.E.’s much-touted Ecomagination challenge, where it promised financial support of $200 million into new ideas for targeted categories, it has come up with a total of 17 high-tech companies that it said it will fund.
The G.E. Ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid contest wanted to corner the best ideas mainly toward building a more efficient and economical power grid. It is part of the broader Ecomagination flagship campaign.
Five winners …
A deal has been signed
to construct components for one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms in Wales, safeguarding over 300 jobs.
Burntisland Fabrications Limited entered into a £12 million contract with RWE npower renewables to design and construct two substations for the Gwynt y Mor Offshore Wind Farm.
Some 350 jobs are expected to be safeguarded by the contract, at the Fife-based company’s BiFab Methil plant. Work on the substation platforms is due to be completed in March 2012, with installation expected to take place the following month.
Further work on structures which will be used to secure the platforms to the seabed will take place at the BiFab Arnish facility at Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, securing a further 40 jobs.
First minister Alex Salmond welcomed the news. “Together with our huge natural renewables resource, Scotland has decades of offshore energy engineering expertise that can play a key role in meeting our renewable energy and carbon reduction targets,” he added.
The world’s largest offshore windfarm – Thanet – was opened off the south coast of the UK by Vattenfall in September.