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The Rise of Wind Energy

November 23, 2020
A Pangea SI Expert

Note – this article was also published on charleyrattan.com

The wind industry has come far, and in such a short time.

The first UK Wind Farm was built at Delabole in Cornwall. During initial development, the turbine sizes were expected to be in the region of 100kw each. As the scheme progressed, there was something of a quantum leap and the ten machines installed were rated at 400kw each, giving a nameplate of 4MW. Excited industry insiders confidently predicted that if the current trend continued, then machines of 1MW may ultimately be possible.

Later, it was decided to re-power the ageing site and I was Project Manager as this took place in 2010. The machines chosen were Enercon E70’s rated at 2.3 MW each. The revised layout was worked around 4 machines and these went live at the end of 2010. Fewer than half of the existing machines, albeit with a higher tip height, but at 9.2 MW more than doubling the existing output.

Hunsterson, Scotland

The trend continued. My next involvement was at Hunterston in Scotland. The idea was to provide an onshore test bed with marine characteristics which could trial the next generation of offshore machines. By this stage most installations offshore were of machines of around 3 MW, but at Hunterston we wanted to trial the significantly larger 6MW prototypes.

Hunterston was recently decommissioned after several years of operation. During that time, the machine was effectively re-rated at 7MW. While tip heights increased, they did so only marginally for what were already large structures. The success of the kit is evidenced by it being chosen for the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm off the North East of Scotland.

The machines are still spinning and are there for all to see but still the industry moved on. 9 MW machines have been installed, and GE have announced a 12MW machine. The figures are incredible – and represent a 120-fold increase on Delabole’s pioneering energisation of 1991.

Looking Further Forward

So, what next? Perhaps more integrated developments rather than pure size increase in MW. Developers are starting to mix and match. Wind with solar, wind with solar and batteries and hydrogen gas. More recently, offshore wind and wave combinations have started to enter the public domain.

So, from a small landowner driven scheme in Cornwall, an industry many believe merits a UK sectoral deal has arisen. Major oil and gas players are entering the market and the industry is gaining global traction. A tribute to the tenacious individuals who fought to make it happen. Well done indeed!

“With an experienced view, some creative thinking and knowledge of innovation, issues such as these can and are being tackled – turbines with tip heights of up to 240 metres are already starting to appear in planning applications in the UK.”
Speak to the leading Wind Expert who wrote this article Expert Bio Expand

Expert Bio:
Expert is currently an independent offshore wind business advisor and trainer with 14 years’ experience in the offshore wind energy industry. Expert has worked on a range of projects including:  

-Global training focusing on de-risking offshore wind; Strategic portfolio troubleshooting for offshore wind and; Business development and bid management for offshore supply chain (including hydrogen).
-Expert has 18+ years’ senior level experience within the energy industry, mostly regarding renewables.
-Expert understands potential problems and pitfalls, as well as opportunities, offered by schemes and portfolios.

Key roles and experiences also include:

Senior Project Manager for a leading renewable energy specialists’ company

Management and stakeholder engagement of 1.6GW of nationally significant projects incorporating battery and solar technologies

Communications and reputation management for cleantech sector; represented a company at meetings of the parliamentary select committee for energy.

Advised on conceptual planning for French offshore wind farms by utilising knowledge of recent advances in offshore construction to identify operational expenditure reductions of up to 20%.

Managing the construction of £10m wind power project – built on time and to budget; successful energisation led to a 33% increase in share value.

Gained investment of £12 million for a wind farm project from a large electric utility company. Managed stakeholders throughout the consenting process for major infrastructure projects.

Simply provide your details, to get connected to this Expert.

 

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