Progress in the ukraine

The author, a wind turbine designer, describes the development of wind energy in the Ukraine. Starting from scratch in 1986 with no access to Western experience, the author prepared a programme for the development of wind energy in the USSR. In March 1996 Ukraine president Leonid Kuchma issued a decree calling for the development of wind power plants.

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I would like to share with readers my involvement and knowledge regarding the development of wind energy in the Ukraine.

The company at which I am chief designer, Windenergo Ltd, has built a wind plant of 57 USW 50-100 machines in the Crimea, designed by American company US Windpower (later Kenetech Windpower.) It is the first wind farm in a former Soviet country and Windenergo is headed by Lev Dulnev.

I was born in Yaroslav, Russia, in 1931. In 1949 I entered the Moscow Aviation Institute and graduated from it in 1955 as a mechanical engineer in aircraft engines. From 1955 I worked at a missile design office, retiring in 1993 as a chief designer of missile engines. I also lectured on engine design at the Dnepropetrovsk University

I took to designing wind turbines in 1986. Even though we had reached an end of the "cold confrontation" with the West, as missile engineers we had no access to Western experience with wind energy. This meant we had to begin at the beginning and "invent the bicycle." We have designed a 200 kW variable pitch wind turbine with synchronous generator, using a number of components and materials from our missile building background: steering gears, control system, and materials such as titanium (for the hub) and glass reinforced plastic for the blades and even the tower. At the time we had little concept of the value of a kilowatt hour, although that is changing with the slow entry of a market based economy into our lives.

In 1988 I persuaded government officials at the General Machine Building Ministry to allow me and my associates, Yuri Alekseyev, chief engineer of the Yuzhmash Machine Building Plant, and Vladimir Paritsky, chief production engineer, and others to visit the European wind energy conference in Glasgow. We were shocked at how comparatively successful other countries had already become at developing wind technology.

On our return we met with the USSR power sector management several times and gained many allies and in 1989 I was assigned to prepare a programme for the development of wind energy in the USSR. By 1990 we had produced an 800 page volume of proposals, recommendations and instructions.

I could continue for some time about the trials and tribulations of getting a government programme going, but suffice to say that we succeeded in making the government of the new Ukraine understand that wind energy is an ecologically sound energy source with the potential to create jobs and become an alternative to the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant. Furthermore it does not require fuel imports.

On March 2, 1996 the Ukraine president, Leonid Kuchma, issued a decree calling for the development of wind power plants. It was the first such decree in any former Soviet country and formed the basis for a national programme of wind plant construction to 2010 and beyond. This resulted in the Crimea wind farm and currently domestic 250 kW and 500 kW wind turbines are being designed.

I would like to exchange my experience in overcoming technological, organisational and economic barriers to the development of wind energy, especially under the period of transition to a market economy which is as new to Ukraine as wind energy is.

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