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Windpower Monthly's round-up of 2014 (part 1)

WORLDWIDE: As Windpower Monthly winds down for the end-of-year holidays, we leave you with a round-up of some of 2014's most read -- if not most important -- wind-energy stories from the magazine and website over the last year.

  • MAY GE's commercial launch of  its new

    MAY GE's commercial launch of its new "space frame" turbine tower, made with 30% less steel than traditional towers

  • JUNE Two Senvion MM100 turbines were installed at an old coal mine in Wales

    JUNE Two Senvion MM100 turbines were installed at an old coal mine in Wales

  • JUNE Alstom installed a 6MW Haliade offshore turbine at the Belwind 2 project in Belgium

    JUNE Alstom installed a 6MW Haliade offshore turbine at the Belwind 2 project in Belgium

  • JUNE A 300-tonne 6.2MW nacelle manufactured by Senvion was installed for testing

    JUNE A 300-tonne 6.2MW nacelle manufactured by Senvion was installed for testing

  • JULY An onshore prototype of the Vertiwind 2MW vertical-axis floating turbine was installed this year in France

    JULY An onshore prototype of the Vertiwind 2MW vertical-axis floating turbine was installed this year in France

  • JULY Construction was completed at RWE's 576MW Gwynt y Mor project off the coast of north Wales

    JULY Construction was completed at RWE's 576MW Gwynt y Mor project off the coast of north Wales

  • JULY Dong Energy released images of its XL monopiles. Each one weighs 940 tonnes and measures 66.5 metres long

    JULY Dong Energy released images of its XL monopiles. Each one weighs 940 tonnes and measures 66.5 metres long

  • AUGUST A pilot suction bucket foundation was installed at Dong's 312MW Borkum Riffgrund 1 project

    AUGUST A pilot suction bucket foundation was installed at Dong's 312MW Borkum Riffgrund 1 project

  • AUGUST Monopiles were manufactured for the 600MW Gemini project being developed by Northland Power in the Netherlands

    AUGUST Monopiles were manufactured for the 600MW Gemini project being developed by Northland Power in the Netherlands

  • AUGUST A 23-metre diameter baseplate for Seatower's new gravity-based foundation was cast in France

    AUGUST A 23-metre diameter baseplate for Seatower's new gravity-based foundation was cast in France

  • SEPTEMBER At the WindEnergy Hamburg event, Nordex unveiled a 64.4-metre blade for its N117/3000 turbine

    SEPTEMBER At the WindEnergy Hamburg event, Nordex unveiled a 64.4-metre blade for its N117/3000 turbine

  • OCTOBER GE commissioned pictures of its 60MW McLean's Mountain project in Ontario, Canada

    OCTOBER GE commissioned pictures of its 60MW McLean's Mountain project in Ontario, Canada

  • OCTOBER Siemens completed the installation of turbines at the 288MW DanTysk offshore project in the North Sea

    OCTOBER Siemens completed the installation of turbines at the 288MW DanTysk offshore project in the North Sea

  • NOVEMBER AMBAU manufactured the tower for Mitsubishi's 7MW SeaAngel turbine being installed in Scotland

    NOVEMBER AMBAU manufactured the tower for Mitsubishi's 7MW SeaAngel turbine being installed in Scotland

  • NOVEMBER Nordex installed one of its new N117/3000 turbines on a 141-metre tower at the port of Hamburg, Germany

    NOVEMBER Nordex installed one of its new N117/3000 turbines on a 141-metre tower at the port of Hamburg, Germany

  • NOVEMBER The University of Maine conducted tests on a 1:8 scale prototype of its VolturnUS floating platform

    NOVEMBER The University of Maine conducted tests on a 1:8 scale prototype of its VolturnUS floating platform

  • DECEMBER Siemens installed one of its 6MW offshore turbines at an onshore site in Germany

    DECEMBER Siemens installed one of its 6MW offshore turbines at an onshore site in Germany

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January

EWEA warns off offshore slowdown. Something that happens when more than 6GW of offshore projects are cancelled, mostly in the UK. The trade body blames "unclear political support" for delays to projects.

Enercon investigates E126 blade failure. Problems for what was once the biggest turbine in the world. 

Elsewhere, 2014 starts badly for turbine manufactures as Enercon and Vestas are forced to investigate blade breaks in Germany and Denmark respectively. A blade snapped on a Vestas V90 3MW turbine, which had only been installed in December. Also this month, GE replaces blades at a project in the US, following another blade break in November.

February

Gamesa loses out over Enercon ‘storm patent’. More patent wars between manufacturers. The patent, owned by Enercon founder Aloys Wobben, was infringed on several types of Gamesa turbines, including the G97. Gamesa was ordered to pay €7 million in damages by a Spanish court.

Spain plans end to all pre-2004 subsidies. As part of deep austerity cuts, the Spanish government ends all subsidies for wind projects that went online before 2004. Support for newer developments are also reduced. Spanish wind association AEE brands the cuts as "retroactive looting".

March

GE develops space frame tower. GE launches a new type of turbine tower designed to use less steel. The "space frame" tower uses 30% less steel than a traditional tubular tower by using a lattice-style structure and architectural fabric. The tower comes in eight parts, allowing for easier transportation.
 
Siemens to drop regional structure. Siemens drops its region-based structure in favour of setting up simple onshore and offshore businesses, headed by Jan Kjaersgaard and Michael Hannibal respectively. Kjaersgaard will leave the company later in the year.

Senior managers depart Vestas CE division. Vestas vice president of sales for Central Europe Andreas Eichler quits the company with four other employees. Vestas was unable to give a reason for their departure.

April

Four killed in US turbine plane strike. The plane they were travelling in struck a turbine in South Dakota, US. The pilot of the single engine aircraft and three cattle ranchers lost their lives at the 40.5MW South Dakota Wind Energy Centre in Hyde County. The plane struck the tower of a GE 1.5MW turbine, installed at the project in 2003.

Enercon to launch new high-wind turbines. In the first of two turbine launches by Enercon this year, the German manufacturer unveils two high-wind models. The E101 3.02MW and E82 2.35MW turbines are upgrades on the original class II wind speed turbines.

Alstom denies GE buyout reports. French manufacturer Alstom denies medias report that US conglomerate GE is lining up a takeover bid for the group’s energy division. A company statement says: "In response to recent speculation in the economic press, Alstom is not informed of any potential public tender offer for the shares of the company." GE will go on to agree a takeover deal in June.

May

The Alstom-GE deal becomes the biggest story of the year as Siemens enters the frame. Unsurprisingly, the deal excludes wind.

There's relief for one of wind's smaller turbine manufacturers as Swiss investment firm Business Creation Investments agrees to acquire bankrupt Finnish turbine manufacturer WinWind.

Vestas looks to beef up its offering in the US market by launching a new range of technology upgrades aimed at improving the performance of its installed turbines. According to Windpower Intelligence the company has over 6GW installed in the US.

June

GE-Alstom continues to rumble on, with Mitsuibishi coming in as a possible partner with Siemens. A week later it is joined by Hitachi. Although both Japanese companies have interests in wind, it is Alstom's conventional power assets that appear to be of more interest.

Germany's new renewable energy law passes through parliament in the second and third readings, in parallel with a law allowing each federal state to independently set the distance of wind turbines to the nearest houses.

At the same time, Spain's right-wing People Party government passes the decree ratifying deep retroactive cuts to renewables power. Capacity online before 2005 — 8.4GW, or 37% of the cumulative total — is stripped of all subsidies.

 

Keep an eye out for part 2, which will be appearing before New Year. Before that, Windpower Monthly would like to wish you a happy Christmas.

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