Repowering Existing Wind Turbines to Achieve Longer Lifespan and Better Performance

Link: EIA
UNI: js5079 (Joshua Strake)

Sustainability Topic: Energy

This article touches on an important principle of ‘smart’ management of capital and resources within a generation blend, best exemplified by the classic saying, “if it ain’t broke… you still might be able to fix it.”

Summary

  • The EIA presents the value to be achieved in ‘repowering’ turbines, which is to say, upgrade them with newer, cheaper and more efficient technology while keeping the same turbine location, foundation, frame, etc.
  • This extends the life of the turbine by up to 20 years and can boost their efficiency by 25% (on average)
  • This is incentivised by the extension of the PTC (Production Tax Credit) for renewables, which applies to not only new renewables construction, but also renewables projects where at least 80% of the value is new construction: repowering often falls into this tranche so companies will elect to upgrade their wind fleet while saving on taxes.
    • GE has repowered up to 300 turbines for clients, and was recently awarded a contract for up to 700 more. Growth in this area is expected.

Stakeholders

-Wind Power Installers and Contractors
-Turbine Owners
-Regions and ISOs with wind power presence
-Consumers of electricity served by repowered turbines

Deployment Steps

1 – Continue to repower turbines with the most efficient modern turbine technology

2 – Look to incentivize all turbine owners to repower and claim PTC benefits, perhaps by raising awareness of the program.

3 – Look into writing specific policy to further incentivize repowering, such as state tax credits and rebates for contractor fees.


Comment on Another Post: Offshore Wind Power
This is a great writeup of the benefits of offshore wind farms compares to onshore. One thing I would add is that there is a two-way street in terms of aesthetics and landscape: while less homeowners may object to the wind turbines being near their homes, there is still strong pushback from ocean life activists regarding sea floor damage, as well as people who oppose the sight of wind turbines in the ocean – this is why the Cape Wind project from a million years ago has still not gotten construction underway.

Offshore Wind Power

Sustainability Issues

The demand for global energy is projected to keep increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 21% per year until 2021. In this worldwide quest for more renewable energy, offshore wind power stands as the future of the sector by producing 40% higher output than its onshore counterpart due to the abundance of space and greater, consistent wind resources. As the pioneer in offshore wind power, the EU has experienced huge offshore wind power expansion in recent years. 3,230 turbines are now installed and grid-connected in 11 countries, for a cumulative total of 11,027 MW. Currently, the US came onboard with its first offshore wind farm off Rhode Island in 2016.

Technology: Offshore Wind Turbine

  • Offshore wind speeds tend to be faster than on land. Small increases in wind speed yield large increases in energy production: a turbine in a 15-mph wind can generate twice as much energy as a turbine in a 12-mph wind. Faster wind speeds offshore mean much more energy can be generated.
  • Many coastal areas have very high energy needs. 53% of the United States’ population lives in coastal areas, with concentrations in major coastal cities. Building offshore wind farms in these areas can help to meet those energy needs from nearby sources.
  • Offshore wind farms have significantly smaller negative impact on aesthetics of the landscape compared to wind farms on land because most offshore wind farms are not visible from shore.
  • However, offshore wind farm remains very expensive to construct, maintain, and deliver energy back onshore

Stakeholders 

  • Department of Energy
  • Regional Utility Companies
  • Local Government
  • Legislation

Deployment 

  • Conduct a comprehensive study of offshore wind energy, select offshore locations with greatest wind potential and lowest environmental impact possible
  • Review existing regulation with regard to offshore project
  • Planning and Design
  • Form public-private-partnership between utility company and the local government

Source:

http://www.renewables-info.com/drawbacks_and_benefits/offshore_wind_power_–_advantages_and_disadvantages.html

https://www.siemens.com/global/en/home/markets/wind/offshore.html

UNI: MH3730

Bladeless wind turbines for the future

  1. Sustainability Problem: Alternative energy is already being incorporated into the world’s energy mix. However, many people are still unsatisfied by its performance. A major problem is the balance between cost and efficiency. So, what can we do to address that?

  2. Vortex offers a less intrusive and more efficient wind turbine design by incorporating the scientific principles of natural frequency and vorticity. The turbine generates power by oscillating in swirling air caused by the wind bypassing the mast. Some advantages of this technology are:
    • Lower costs – no gears or bearings, reducing maintenance and manufacturing costs
    • Respectful of nature – no lubrication needed, noiseless, less carbon footprint
    • Accessibility – no energy and no training is required to operate
    • Scalability – lower height wind turbines available for micro power generation

Sources:

Vortex

http://www.vortexbladeless.com/

Can bladeless wind turbines mute opposition? | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/jun/01/can-bladeless-wind-turbines-mute-opposition

The future of wind turbines could be bladeless | CNBC

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/29/the-future-of-wind-turbines-could-be-bladeless.html

Vortex .Bladeless Wind Generator.

  1. Stakeholders:
    • Energy players
    • Wind energy market
    • Financial Industry
    • Technology Industry
    • Utility companies
    • Consumers all over the world
  2. Next steps:
    • Demonstrate feasibility by conducting field tests for micro and macro scale power generation
    • Introduce this innovative technology to the market by establishing partnerships and investing in outreach
    • Quickly and efficiently scale up the solution to a mass market

 

By: Timothy Wiranata

UNI: tw2618

 

Comments on Improving access to medical supplies with drones

“A very interesting concept indeed. I am hopeful that this will be the future of shopping, where drones deliver everything to our homes. However, the constraint right now is the drone technology itself. In cities with developed infrastructure, the drones will need to have a top-notch maneuvering ability to avoid buildings. Although your post is focused towards cities with less developed infrastructure, this can prove to be the next challenge.”