Floating wind turbines are to be the initial focus of a new agreement between Britain and the U. S. The two nations have chosen to collaborate in the development of floating wind technology designed to generate power in deep waters currently off limits to conventional turbines but where the wind is much stronger. The UK and US are both making funding available for this technology. The development emerged as energy ministers from 23 of the world’s leading economies gathered in London recently to discuss accelerating the transition to clean energy technologies. The US and UK agreed on a new Memorandum of Understanding on ‘Collaboration in Energy Related Fields’.
In the UK, the Energy Technologies Institute is currently in the process of commissioning a £25 million offshore wind floating system demonstrator. Participants in the project will be tasked with producing an offshore wind turbine that can produce 5-7 MW, by 2016.
In the US, the Department of Energy have recently announced a US$180 million funding opportunity for up to four Advanced Technology Demonstration Projects in US waters – which potentially could include a floating wind demonstration.
Energy generation from tidal power is poised to experience a boom that will see the marine and hydrokinetic market’s generation capacity increase from 760 MW to 5.5 GW in just five years, according to Pike Research. “Our research shows that tidal energy is shaping up to be the lower cost option as compared to wave, and therefore the closest to large-scale deployment,” said research analyst Dexter Gauntlett. The research states that by 2017 worldwide tidal capacity will reach 2.4 GW with the top-producing countries being South Korea (750 MW), the United Kingdom (529 MW) and Canada (300 MW), followed by India, China, New Zealand (200 MW each) and Australia (100 MW).
Goldwind became China’s number one WTG manufacturer in 2011 by installing the largest capacity in the country, pushing the previous year’s leader Sinovel to second place. Last year, Goldwind installed 3.6 GW, or 20.4 per cent of the Chinese market, while Sinovel, with 2.9 GW, could secure a 16.7 per cent of the market.
This year Goldwind has already bagged orders from three new customers in North America – Enel Green Power North America, Wind Energy Developers LLC, and Debenham Energy. Upon completion of the projects, the wind turbine manufacturer will have 13 projects operating in eight States of the United States, in addition to Ecuador and Chile. “The US market is particularly competitive and to succeed there demonstrates any global company’s ability to compete on an international scale,” said Wang Haibo, head of the Hong Kong-based Goldwind International.
Meanwhile, the company has signed a financial agreement with China Development Bank Corp. for wind power projects worth RMB 35 billion. The accord signed through its subsidiary Beijing Tianrun New Energy Investment Corp. also covers asset acquisition. The agreement comes after Goldwind received an RMB 10 billion credit facility from Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. in November 2011. The company is also on track to launch a prototype of its first 6-MW offshore turbine in the next three months.