Bavaria leads on Mickey Mouse rules
The taller the turbine, the longer its blades, the more electricity it will generate, and at lower cost. That has to be a good thing, right? The wind industry is under intense pressure to cut the levelised cost of the energy it produces, and this has proved an extremely effective way of doing just that.
But anti-wind administrations - and there is a depressingly high number of them - have worked out how to build obstacles to wind reaching grid parity with fossil fuels.
Poland and Bavaria have shown the way, imposing a setback distance of ten times the tip height of the turbine. With today's tower and blade technology that means a distance of around 2 kilometres between the turbine and areas of residence.
Bavaria, Germany's largest state, is now effectively closed to wind development. The setback rule leaves only 0.5% of its 70,548 square kilometres available for new wind. Take out the areas with insufficient wind resources or other environmental demands, and you're left with only 0.1% of the land area, or about 70 square kilometres. That's smaller than Disney World in Florida.
Flights of fancy
The electric car market has been slow to really take off, which perhaps doesn't bode well for the nascent electric aircraft sector. But US space agency Nasa has started work on a four-seater aeroplane with electric motors driving 14 propellers.
Commercial aviation accounts for 2% of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions and is forecast to rise significantly in the coming years. Electric aircraft could go a long way to limit, or even stop, this increase.
Whether, though, it will lead to the practical deployment of electric aircraft prototypes like the German-designed Volocopter, which has rather a look of the Vestas four-rotor concept turbine, remains to be seen.
Ancillaries figures and facts
$51.24bn - The value the medium voltage cables and accessories market is expected to reach in 2021, a 6.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2016 (Report Linker)
$12.74bn - The size the global structural adhesive market is expected to grow to by 2021. Wind energy is the fastest-growing application for this market (Research and Markets)
13.1% - The CAGR forecast for the global wind-turbine gear-oil market from 2016 to 2020 (Research and Markets)
7.8% - The CAGR forecast for the global wind turbine composite materials market from 2016 to 2022 (P&S Market Research)
Quote of the month:
"In our view, leaving the EU's single market is like smashing a crystal flower vase, and then trying to glue the pieces back together again. You may be able to do it, but the result may not hold water, will not be pretty, and the flowers will wilt in the meantime" - JP Morgan statement following the UK's referendum vote.