By Marta Jurado
Basedoninstalledcapacity, size of farms and global investment, windenergy leads theinternationalenergytransitiontowards a greenerfuture
FromUnitedStates to China, windenergyisgainingground as analternative to fossilfuelsaroundtheworld. New projectsmultiply, includingthoseimplementedbytraditionalelectricitycompaniessuch as General Electric, Iberdrola oroilcompanieslike Total, whichhavejoinedthe “green” commitment in thelastyear and total aninvestment of as much as $285 billionannually. And that’snotall, forthefirst time in 2015, differentinternationalorganizationsacknowledgedthatwindenergyisone of themostcompetitivewhenit comes to building new facilities − one of thepointsthatgenerated more reticenceamongthemosttraditionalsectors −. In a reportoncosts of cleanenergies, the International RenewableEnergy Agency (IRENA) highlightedthatwindenergyisthemostinexpensivepowergenerationoption, includinggenerationcosts, whichhave fallen below $0.05 Kw/h.
As a result, theworld has witnessed a new record of windfacilitiesbytheincorporation of 63.69 gigawatts (GW) intothesystem in 2015, a 17 percentrisecompared to thepreviousyear. In total, cumulativewindcapacityreached 340 GW in 2015, according to the Global WindEnergy Council (GWEC), or 21 percent of renewables, while solar barelyconstituted 11 percent of thecapacity. UnitedStates and China continue to be thecountrieswiththelargestcapacity and windfarmsworldwide.
According to theSpanishWindEnergyAssociation, this data confirmsthe global trend to “thehighconcentration of marketswith a heavy weight of thetraditionalmodel, while a strongrivalryariseswithintheindustrycoveringthesupplychain.” China has thelargestwindcomplex of theworld in Gansu, in process of renovation. Thisfacilitycombinedwith 33 GW of new capacityadded in 2015 makes China theowner of 51.8 percent of the global market share, according to theWorldWindEnergyAssociation (WWEA). TheAsiangiantiscloselyfollowedbyUnitedStates, whichpossesses 5 out of the 10 largestwindfarms of theworld and experienced a good performance lastyearwith 8.6 GW of additionalcapacity, thesharpestrisesince 2012. Butmarketslike India and Germanyfirmlymakeprogress in thefield of windfarms, as well as new countriessuch as Brazil, Poland and Turkey, themostdynamic in 2015, according to the WWEA. Big upcomingprojectsincludethe 1.6 GW Naflinwindfarm in Mexico, valued at $2.2 billion, orthe Grande Prairie facility in UnitedStates, with a $740 millioninvestment, whichwilladd 4,000 megawatts (MW) to thesystem.
But to thatend, itwould be necessary to have a strongersupportfromgovernments of thesestates, whichsometimeshaveobstructedtheprogress of renewables. In thatsense, thecommitment to a lesspollutingfuturemadeby 195 countriesafterthe Paris ClimateChangeConference has been a boost. “Thewindcommunityisready to contributeitspart to implementing a 100 percentrenewableenergy and hencegreenhouse gas neutral future.
The new record proveswhat can be done – and evenfastergrowthwould be possiblegiventherightpolicies are in place,” WWEA General-Secretary Stefan Gsängersaid. Theopportunities to implement new electricitygridshavefavoredtheproliferation of largesizedwindfarmswithhighcapacity in recentyears, as evidenced in thefollowinglist, showingthelargestonshorewindfarmsbycapacit
WIND FARM WORLD RANKING
GANSU WIND (CHINA) 7.900 MW NearJiuquancity, it tops the ranking of current and futurewindfarms, as itwillreach a 20.000 MW capacityuponcompletingitsexpansion in 2020. Thedevelopersinclude
MUPPANDAL (INDIA) 1.500 MW Farfromthefirst place, thisfacilityislocated in the Tamil Nadu department. ManagedbyMuppandalwindEnergy, it has severalkinds of turbines producedbyVestas and Enercom, which capture windsfromtheArabian Sea.
ALTA WIND (U.S) 1.320 MW Located in theTehachapiMountains in California, thisisthelargestwindfarm in theUnitedStates. Operatedby NRG, BHE, EverPower and Brookfield, itcurrentlygenerates 1,248 MW. A total of 3,000 MW isplanned.los 3.000 MW.
AISALMER WIND PARK (INDIA) 1.064 MW With turbines installed in theRajastandesert, thisisone of thelargestwindfacilities in India, especiallyaftertheinvestmentmadebySuzlon to increaseitscapacity. Gamesa alsosuppliesspecialized turbines.
SHEPHERDS FLAT (U.S) 845 MW Google, GE and theengineers of CaithnessEnergy are theresponsibleforcommissioningthisfarm –located in Oregon – in 2012. At the time, thiswindfacilityreceivedthelargestpublicfunds.
ROSCOE (U.S) 781,5 MW ThisTexancomplexstarted to be built/beganconstruction in 2007 by German E.ON and has 600 Siemens, Mitsubishi and General Electric turbines, putting Texas at theforefront of windpowergeneration.
HORSE HOLLOW CENTER (U.S) 735.5 MW Untiltwoyearsago, itwasthelargestwindfarm in Texas. Locatedbetweenthe Taylor and Nolancounties, thisfacilityisoperatedbyNextEraEnergyResources and has a total capacity of 421 MW to supply 220,600 households.
CAPRICORN RIDGE (U.S.) 662.5 MW Thisfarmwasbuilt in Stearling and Cokecounties, Texas. OperatedbyNextEraEnergyResources, it has more than 340 GE turbines and 65 Siemens. Each turbine is 260 feettallfromtheground to the center of thebladehub.
FÂNTÂNELE-COGEALAC (ROMANIA) 600 MW ČEZ Groupoperatesthelargestcoastalwindfarmworldwide, located 17 km fromthe shore of the Black Sea. Thisisalsothelargestfacility in Europewith 240 GE turbines. Currently, thecompanyplans to expanditscapacity in order to supply 10 percent of the country.
FOWLER RIDGE WIND FARM (U.S.) 599.8 MW Located in Indiana, thiscomplexisoperatedby BP AlternativeEnergy North America and DominionResources. Itwasbuilt in 2008. Thisfacilityincludes 183 Vestas Turbines, 40 Clipper and 133 GE.