President of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) Ezio Sesto announced that, with the recent affiliation of the Danish Wind Turbine Association and its more than 8000 members, EWEA's membership is now approaching 11,000 drawn from 25 countries, making it the largest renewable energy organisation in the world.
Lobbying to start
The newly formed corporate group within the European Wind Energy Association is currently interviewing three media companies in Brussels before deciding which one will represent its interests in the European Union. The group, which as well as lobbying EU institutions will also provide broad information on wind power and develop best practice guidelines for the industry, has approximately 40 fee paying members. The chairman is Nils Andersen from Vestas, vice-chairman Marcus Tacke of Tacke Windtechnik, treasurer Ian Mays of British developer Renewable Energy Systems and secretary Peter Hjuler of the Danish wind turbine test centre at Risø.
A renewables agency
A brief debate at EWEC's opening session on the need for a Renewables Energy Agency, similar to the Atomic Energy Agency, failed to reach a conclusion. The idea was put forward by Wolfgang Hein, director of energy and environment at the Austrian Federal Chancellory, but Donald Swift Hook of the British Wind Energy Association disagreed. "Wind and photovoltaics need totally different things," he said. "The oil, coal and gas sectors have their own lobbies. Wind should have its own, too." Hein replied that the renewables lobby needed to combine its strength to have any say at all.
Greek utility plans 60 MW Following the passing of a new law deregulating the electricity sector in Greece (Windpower Monthly, October 1994), the country's national utility, the Public Power Corporation (PPC), describes itself as being in a transition phase between transferring technology from the public to the private sector. The utility has detailed plans for development of 27 MW of wind power on the Greek islands and 45 MW on Crete. "Whether or not this will be in co-operation with the private sector we do not know," says PPC's Nicolas Yiparakis. He says wind turbines must be robustly built to withstand the turbulent winds which funnel south over the islands from the European content. For this reason, he says southerly Crete has better potential. Two grid loops connecting several of the islands are planned by 1998. Andros, Timios, Mikonos, Siros, Kea and Kithnos will be linked together in one loop and Kos, Leros and Samos in a second loop.
A new wind turbine conformity assessment scheme was launched at EWEC by Lloyds Register (LR) of Britain. The scheme covers safety, quality, performance and environmental aspects and is an integral component in establishing and maintaining agreed standards of design, construction and operation, says LR. It is designed to be applicable worldwide and should assist in the removal of trade barriers, adds the company. It takes into account the current moves towards harmonisation of standards in Europe and is broadly similar to the existing Danish and Dutch certification schemes. It is also in line with the draft standard developed for wind turbines by Technical Committee 88 of the International Electrotechnical Commission.
Layout by computer
A computer programme for quick and easy planning of optimal wind farm layout is being developed by Henrik Hutting of the Kema energy and environment laboratory in the Netherlands. The programme, being demonstrated by Hutting at EWEC on a lap top computer, allows the user to pinpoint a potential wind farm site in the Netherlands and then experiment with the precise placement of wind turbines. Information is supplied on production and wake effects, with the worst producing wind turbines quickly identified. Noise contours and noise plots are available, too. According to Hutting, an hour or two with the programme, whimsically named Don Quixote, can increase a potential wind farm's efficiency by 2%, saving one whole turbine on a 40 machine project. Within two hours it can do a control of a 70 turbine wind farm layout to check the manufacturer's calculation of efficiency. Don Quixote is not yet commercially available, but if there is a market for the programme it soon will be, says Hutting.
A newcomer to the wind business on the exhibition floor at EWEC was Israeli company Ashot Ashkelon. The company is currently seeking partners to further develop and sell its wind turbine transmission systems. The company has developed a gear box specially for wind turbines, a system now being patented. The gear box comes in three sizes for 300 kW, 400 kW and 500 kW generators and has a number of advantages, says Ashot Ashkelon's David Galante. It is lightweight, the reduced mass giving it an economic advantage, and has good fatigue qualities. "Instead of off-the-shelf gear boxes, we are offering to customise systems for particular wind turbines," adds Galante. Ashot Ashkelon has 500 employees and is publicly traded on the Tel Aviv stock exchange. It was founded in 1967 and is a supplier to Boeing, Volvo and McDonnell Douglas, among others. The wind turbine gear box has been developed in close association with wind company R Lynette & Associates of Washington state in the US. "Lynette's AWT-26 has been our test bench," says Galante.
Danes join forces
A new co-operation of four Danish companies made its debut at the EWEC exhibition with a combined stand. Scandinavian Alternative Energy Systems (SAES) is a network co-operation between wind-diesel plant manufacturer Danvest Energy, wind turbine control supplier, Orbital A/S, wind turbine manufacturer Wind World A/S and engineers G Allan Jensen. SAES describes itself as a group of companies specialising in the solution of environmental problems, mostly through an extensive use of alternative energy sources. The company markets a wind-diesel plant for refining high quality drinking water from a number of sources, including oceans, rivers and lakes.