Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

With oil prices reaching record levels and natural gas doubling in price over the last two years, the main beneficiaries are wind power and the environment. Manel Romeu Belles, of Danish turbine company Vestas, looks at how the harnessing of the wind is becoming a complement to oil and gas. {pagebreak}Over the last few months, oil prices have reached their highest level, in real terms, since the end of the seventies. The price of oil is changing the economics of the energy market, making wind power not only valued for its environmental merits, but also competitive in cost with fossil fuels.From 2003 the price of oil increased steadily, followed by an abrupt rise in 2007–a trend that has continued until today. This change is largely due to a structural shift in global oil supply and demand, which has its roots in the ever-increasing demand for oil, especially in China and India. Global energy consumption is expected to increase by 50 per cent by 2030. Other temporary factors such as the weakening of the dollar, market speculation and the political instability of the Middle East have simply worsened the situation.

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Wind as a modern energy source: The Vestas View.Wind is an energy source which can help the world's largest and fastest growing economies to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and on imported energy.{pagebreak}Over the past couple of years, Vestas, the world's largest wind turbine manufacturer, has experienced tremendous growth, and the company vision of wind alongside oil and gas is gaining momentum. Wind power has developed from being an alternative form of energy to its status as a large-scale reliable source of energy integrated in the energy mix along with oil and gas. It's fair to say: wind energy has become an important player in the world's energy markets. 

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By ramping up production capacity while driving down unit cost through new mass-production technologies and strategies, solar power is poised to reach a much wider market.KUKA Systems' goal is to pioneer automated manufacturing solutions, including robotized cells and integrated production lines that can be adapted to any type of solar-cell technology, so that a labour-intensive industry with niche appeal can take a much larger place in the broader electricity marketplace.{pagebreak}Solar power (photovoltaics/PV) is about to fulfil its promise as the most viable commercial energy source. As capture efficiency improves and installation costs decline, every house, office and institution worldwide will have the opportunity to be energy self-sufficient with a much faster payback on investment than the industry has been able to offer to date. Germany has the world's largest and fastest growing PV market, gaining a further 1.5 GW of PV capacity in 2007. Now, German-based international supplier KUKA S-Tec, a business unit of KUKA Systems GmbH, plans to become a key enabler in driving the proliferation of solar power.

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Taking wind turbines to new heights Wind turbines are highly engineered and sophisticated machinery which may operate in wide ambient operating temperatures and extreme environments such as offshore. As a vital asset, it makes good business sense to protect it and prolong its life. Correct lubrication is a critical factor that has been recognised by both component manufacturers and the wind turbine builders as a key success factor for trouble-free operations.{pagebreak}ExxonMobil continues to recognise the increased demands in this market with ongoing investment for research and development to ensure the correct balanced lubricants are available as the sector evolves. Backed by more than 40 years of experience in developing synthetic lubricants and more than 15 years expertise in lubrication of wind turbines, ExxonMobil doesn't just make wind turbines run. They make them fly. How? By helping get the most out of the equipment.Mobil SHC synthetic lubricants and greases Ã

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Detlev Koch, Head of Solar Thin Film, Oerlikon Solar.For the PV industry, this is a time of optimism, historic economic potential and technological progress - and unprecedented challenges. But governments and the private sector alike are betting on our industry to meet the challenges and supply an increasingly larger share of the world's future electricity needs.{pagebreak}We are at the very beginning of a revolution in the energy market, similar to the dawn of the new age experienced about 30 years ago in the semiconductor industry with the adoption of the integrated circuitsays Oerlikon Solar CEO Jeannine Sargent.Government incentives and the infusion of capital into the photovoltaic (PV) industry from private investors, with their own set of hopes and expectations, stem from the realisation that PV energy production will be a critical factor in lowering the world's dependence on fossil fuels and ameliorating climate change

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Wind industry ready to boom. European Wind Energy Association Chief Executive Christian Kjaer talks exclusively to PES about how the European Commission's ongoing efforts to tackle climate change are paving the way for "a massive expansion in wind power", but certain member states should be reaching to pull their socks up.{pagebreak}In January this year, the European Commission gathered in Brussels to propose a new energy and climate package for Europe, including realistic targets and a roadmap for achieving these targets. One general conclusion of discussions was that, if we are to achieve a renewable energy quota of 20% by 2020 across the 27 Member States, a great deal of time, effort and investment will need to be ploughed into the RES sectors.The EC has now proposed a stable and flexible EU framework in which Member States keep control of their renewable energy policies through successful national support systems. In addition, cross-border transfer of guarantees of origin can only take place where Member States have met or exceeded their interim targets.For the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), these two elements are crucial for maintaining investor confidence and encouraging substantial investments in green electricity. The EC has today provided a powerful response

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