You are on page 1of 21

White Paper An Introduction and Overview of Wind Technology

March 2012 Presented by:

Written by: Robert Koblovsky

We are pushing the envelope in all areas of alternative energy sources. With the continued and increased R&D and on-going government subsidies activity in all areas of alternative energy has increased. Make no mistake; this is still an emerging industry and market place. There are still many hurdles to overcome in each sector (solar, wind, etc) and these are being addressed by the industry and government. Various groups and organizations have raised a number of concerns. For example, the cost versus energy production ratio, although dropping, is always a topic of discussion. Our desire to harness the power of the wind is not new. The human race has utilized wind energy since early recorded history. Sailing ships harnessed the wind to travel the world`s oceans and seas. Windmills used the wind to grind grain into flour. In 1888, Cleveland Ohio was, purportedly, the first to use electricity generated by a wind turbine. Wind is abundant and wind power has been one of the fastest-growing sources of energy around the world. Wind is also intermittent and variable. The use of turbines to utilize wind energy to produce electrical power is either the best approach to clean energy or a detriment to our health and environment. There is a lot of controversy these days regarding the roll out of wind technology. Depending on whom you listen to or what you read about Wind energy a case can be made to support both the pros and cons. The objective of this white paper is to provide a balanced perspective based on currently available information and data. Until recently, there were three main issues regarding the possible downsides of wind power: bird and bat deaths, cost, and disrupting the appearance of natural landscapes. But a new objection to wind power has popped up in the past few years, resting on the research of a few scientists. The latest argument states that wind power endangers the health of people who live near windmills. Some people call this theory "wind-turbine syndrome." Wind Energy: Dealing With
Intermittency Challenges 23 January 2012 Becky Diffen Originally published in Power Magazine, December 2011

The current financial crisis affecting the investments in renewable projects, the regulatory uncertainty experienced in mature markets and the green "protectionism" existing in new markets are some of the critical challenges facing wind industry, reminded Juan Araluce, President, Vestas Mediterranean, as speaking this week at World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. Responding to challenges facing wind industry; Jan 20 2012 Energy Enviro Finland Environmental groups and local citizens have banded together to oppose the implementation of large wind farms. Health and safety concerns, impact on the environment and wild life represent the major issues. Even the implementation of off shore wind farms is getting negative press. Many of the issues raised here may not be relevant at the residential level.

How do they work?

Anything that is in motion such as moving air contains a form of energy we refer to as kinetic energy. Slowing air down reduces its kinetic energy and that energy has to go somewhere. Wind turbines slow wind down and convert some of the energy to mechanical and electrical energy. Wind Technology Today, University of Massachusetts Renewable Energy Research Laboratory Wind turbines operate when the wind speed is within certain limits. The wind turns the blades of the turbine when the wind is at 7 to 8 miles per hour. When the wind speeds get to 25m/s (56mph, 49 knots), turbines typically shut down to protect the structure from excessive loads. Wind turbines are certified to specified levels and designed to the highest of these. How Wind
Turbines Work, Sept 2008, Wind Energy Planning

Albert Bet, a German Physicist, determined that the upper limit to the amount of energy you can capture from the wind is about 59%.

Anatomy of a Wind Turbine

There are many different designs for wind turbines. The ones we are most familiar with, of course, are the high towers with three large rotating blades. There are many designs in production or in development. Figures 1 through 3 are examples of three different designs. There are many variations even within each category. For example, you will find different designs for vertical access wind turbines. There are also many variations on the typical turbine; some have more blades others different housings. A quick search on Google will show that the designs available or in R&D are only limited by the designers imaginations.

Figure 1: Three Blade Wind Turbine

Figure 2: Vertical Access Wind Turbine

Figure 3: Multi Access Turbo System

Some of the newer designs are very different. Figures 4 and 5 below are two examples of variations on the theme for vertical wind turbines.

Figure 4: Vertical Wind Turbine

Figure 5: Vertical Wind Turbine

Wind power can be divided into three general size ranges, Residential (small), Commercial (medium) and Commercial (large). The size is chosen differently depending on the turbines purpose and the application it serves. For example, typical sizes in the three ranges available in the US are: Residential: below 30 kW Example: 20,000 kWh/year Medium: 30 - 500 kW Example: 600,000 kWh/year Commercial scale: 500 kW - 2 MW Usually fed into the grid, not sized to a single Load. Example: 4,000,000 kWh/year
Source: Wind Technology Today, University of Massachusetts

The focus of this white paper is on medium to large wind farms both on and off shore.

Anatomy of a Wind Turbine

All wind turbines basically follow the same design. They may look different but regardless of the final designs elements most of the components are the same.

Figure 6

The main components of the wind turbine are: Rotor: includes the blades and the connecting hub

Nacelle: the housing at the top of the tower. Traditionally the Nacelle houses the gear box and generator and helps reduce noise levels. Some newer designs have the generator in the base of the tower to redistribute some of the weight. Tower: A hollow steel tube supports which supports the nacelle. Base: The base provides the foundation for the tower and nacelle. The foundation is typically re-enforced cement.

The blades of a larger turbine will pitch to change the angle to the wind (see #3 in Figure 6) to improve and optimize performance. Larger commercial-scale turbines have a motor to yaw, or turn the rotor to either face into the wind or to yaw out of the wind if wind speed is too high. The spinning blades turn a low speed shaft which connects through a gearbox to a high speed shaft that connects to the generator. The generator produces the electricity which is then fed into the GRID or to a storage medium. A turbine must shut down and turn perpendicular to the wind to protect itself from being overpowered when winds reach high speed (56 mph). The cut out wind speed protects the turbine from damage. Some turbines incorporate electronics that allow them to optimize their power output by varying their speed. Variable speed turbines increase their rotation speed in higher winds in order to optimize the aerodynamic efficiency. The speed of wind should not be too strong because it makes turbines spin too fast and in this process it commits suicide! Why is it so? Because turbine blades get ripped off by stronger winds excessive heat damages the alternator. Turbine tower too cant remain unaffected by the strong wind. To prevent all this damage a mechanical breaking system furling is generally used. This method prevents wind turbine from spinning too quickly by turning the blades away from the direction of the wind. Furling can be manual or automatic with same goal i.e. turning the turbine blade edges into the wind when the wind is dangerously strong and stormy. Break
Through in Small Wind technology, Alternative Energy Nov 2008

Constant speed turbines keep their rotation speed more or less constant while the power and the torque change.

Impact on Health
Wind power has been identified by the United Nations and the World Health Organization as a clean renewable energy source that has no impact on global warming, and no known emissions, waste products, or harmful pollutants. The Health Impact of Wind Turbines: A Review of the Current White,
Grey, and Published Literature, Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit June 2008

As you will see this may not be the case as more recent studies have shown for example, that large wind farms could have an effect on climate. This is an emotionally charged topic. The pro wind groups downplay the negative impact and focus on the clean and renewable energy that can be garnered by capturing the wind. The anti-wind faction has raised a lot of questions about the impact of wind on people, birds, animals and the environment. Both groups claim the other is twisting or at the very least skewing the facts to support their agendas. In a review completed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMHO) of Ontario the conclusion was that while some people living near wind turbines report symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and sleep disturbance, the scientific evidence available to date does not demonstrate a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.

Noise and Vibrations The sounds emitted from wind turbines can either be mechanical, from internal equipment such as the gearbox or yaw drive, or aerodynamic, from air moving past the rotor blades. Modern turbine designs have effectively reduced mechanical sound through sound proofing so that the whooshing aerodynamic sound is what can normally be heard.

Most of the literature with regard to human health effects from noise generated by wind turbine developments is based on anecdotal testimony from residents living in proximity to operational wind turbines. SUMMARY REPORT LITERATURE SEARCH ON THE POTENTIAL HEALTH IMPACTS
ASSOCIATED WITH WIND-TO-ENERGY TURBINE OPERATIONS; Health Assessment Section, Bureau of Environmental Health, Ohio Department of Health March, 2008

There is no doubt that noise and vibrations can result in a neuro-biological reaction. The French National Academy of Medicine (Chouard, 2006). The question remains as to what impact wind turbines have and what can be done to mitigate those effects. Previous research, much of which has not been peer reviewed, links wind turbines with a variety of physical and emotional problems. Researchers in Portugal claimed the turbines contributed to "vibroacoustic disease," a full body reaction to low frequency noise that affects the auditory and vestibular system, which controls a person's ability to balance. A pediatrician in the United States coined the term "wind turbine syndrome" to describe the symptoms people experience from living near wind turbines, such as sleep disturbance, headache, vertigo, ear pressure, tachycardia (rapid heart rate) and concentration and memory problems.
Study to determine health effects of turbines, Sarah Hoesveld, Globe and Mail, Published Wednesday, Jul. 08, 2009

According to Dr. Nina Pierpont, turbine noise and vibrations disrupt the inner ear system, which may lead to nervousness, nausea, tachycardia (increased heart rate) and sleep disturbance. Pierpont recommends that turbines be set at least 2km from people's homes. The noise produced by wind turbines is decreasing as newer models and designs reflect a maturing technology. We think the focus should be on placing wind farms no closer than the two kilometers recommended by Dr. Pierpont. It becomes lees of a concern for off shore installations. Regardless, Data with regard to the nature of these health impacts does seem to be consistent for all of these communities. SUMMARY REPORT LITERATURE SEARCH ON THE POTENTIAL HEALTH IMPACTS
ASSOCIATED WITH WIND-TO-ENERGY TURBINE OPERATIONS; Health Assessment Section, Bureau of Environmental Health, Ohio Department of Health, March, 2008

In a study published in 2007 entitled Wind Turbines Noise and Health by Dr. Amanda Harry found that there are many people living near wind turbines who are suffering with problems

with their health. She does go on to conclude that no home should be closer than 1.5 miles from a wind turbine. Many of the respondents to her survey lived in close proximity of the wind turbines, some as close as 300 meters. Health Canada is drafting national guidelines for electricity-generating wind turbines that will establish a recommended minimum safe distance of 2 KM between the structures and homes. Structural noise (when a turbine is secured to a building) is different than airborne noise from the spinning of the wind turbine. Structure-borne sound has the character of a whine which in psycho-acoustic terms is quite different to the familiar blade swish from airborne sound.
Structure-borne sound and vibration from building-mounted wind turbines, Andy Moorhouse1, Andy Elliott1, GrahamEastwick2,Tomos Evans1, Andy Ryan1, Sabine von Hunerbein1, Valentin le Bescond1 and DavidWaddington1 1 Acoustics Research Centre, University of Salford, Manchester, August 2011

The study concludes that: Structure-borne sound is potentially of concern for building mounted wind turbines. This is more of an issue with small to medium building mounted wind turbines. More extensive on-going research is required. Shadow Flicker/Strobing When the blades of the turbine rotate the effect on a sunny day is called Shadow Flicker. It occurs mainly at sunrise and sunset. Flicker has been known to cause headaches. At the very least it must be incredibly annoying even if the threshold is 30 hours per year. There are a few interesting videos on YouTube. Strobing occurs when sunlight is reflected back to the viewer from the blades.


Ice Shed/Ice Throw In colder climates ice can accumulate on the blades of the turbine. Under certain condition ice can be thrown off the blades. Claims have been made of ice flying up to 1,700 feet. Ice shedding happens when the ice melts and falls to the ground under the tower producing a hazard for people of animals below. Structural Hazards Blades on windmills break. Many of them are massive. Check out the man standing by the blade in the left bottom of the picture. We would expect mean time between failure stats to improve with new designs and materials.

Figure 7
Source: Google Images


Regardless, as more and more wind farms and turbines are constructed this will inevitably become an obstacle that must be addressed. Beyond the potential impact of structural failure on shore, off shore implementations are even more problematic. How will we recover pieces that fall into the sea?

Impact on the Environment

Wildlife Wind turbines kill birds. No one is arguing that some birds do die. Every time we (man) changes our environment in any way, there is an impact. How many birds, fish and mammals were killed as a result of the oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico or the Exxon Valdez? In fact, the research to date indicates that wind turbines kill relatively few birds, at least compared with other man-made structures. The Dutch study we quote in this section did find that some migratory birds change their behaviours and avoid the wind farms.

Man-made structure/technology Associated bird deaths per year (U.S.) Feral and domestic cats Hundreds of millions [source:AWEA] Power lines 130 million -- 174 million [source:AWEA] Windows (residential and commercial) 100 million -- 1 billion [source: TreeHugger] Pesticides 70 million [source:AWEA] Automobiles 60 million -- 80 million [source: AWEA] Lighted communication towers 40 million -- 50 million [source: AWEA] Wind turbines 10,000 -- 40,000 [source AWEA]

Although the numbers are telling it should be noted that deployment of wind farms large and small is still in its infancy. We would expect the number of bird deaths to go up to go up as more implementations are completed and brought on line. No one likes to see birds or any animal suffer or die. We would argue that if reducing bird deaths is a real concern than time would be better spent focusing on one of the other areas.

Some studies have suggested the risk to bats is greater. Apparently the moving blades cause a drop in air pressure causing the bats lung to suddenly expand and hemorrhage. The US National Research Council published a survey in May 2007 showing that two bat species accounted for 60% of winged animals killed by wind turbines. Wind Turbines Makes Bats Lungs Explode,
New Scientist, Catherine Brahic, August 2008

Research conducted in the Netherlands looked at both on shore and off shore wind farms and their impact on birds and sea life. The temporal variability of the fish community is large, both inside and outside the wind farm, and not due to its presence. Some fish species, such as cod, seem to find shelter in the wind farm. Some bird species appear to avoid the farm while others are indifferent or even attracted. There are clear indications of the influence of the turbines on the flight pattern of both local and migratory birds, where several bird species tend to avoid the turbines or the entire farm.
Short-term ecological effects of an offshore wind farm in the Dutch coastal zone; a compilation, H J Lindeboom1, H J Kouwenhoven2, M J N Bergman3, S Bouma4,S Brasseur1, R Daan3, R C Fijn4, D de Haan5, S Dirksen4,RvanHal5, R Hille Ris Lambers5, R terHofstede5, K L Krijgsveld4, MLeopold1 and M Scheidat1, August 2011.

The Dutch study also found that; For seals, the data density is insufficient for definite conclusions but before and after the pile driving, seals used the study area. Harbour porpoises showed no aversion to Operational wind farms. In contrast, there are indications that, at least during the study period, animals used the area in the wind park more frequently than the reference areas. The results are not that surprising. Wildlife has a way of adapting to their environment. That seems to be the case here. We still however need to monitor long term impact. Waste Management In June of 2011 a Danish Newspaper Dagbladet Borsen reported that a gigantic mountain of scrap blades is building up. The blades are made of carbon fibre composite. Carbon fibre composite cannot be recycled and when burned releases toxic emissions. As shown in Figure 7 some of these blades and housing can be quite large. How are we going to dispose of this new waste? How much waste will the industry produce?

Climate A recently published study from MIT claims that large implementations do have an effect on the micro climate, which could as more wind farms come on line worldwide have a global impact.
a large deployment of wind turbines over land to meet about 10% of predicted world energy

needs in 2100 could lead to a significant temperature increase in the lower atmosphere over the installed regions. A global-scale perturbation to the general circulation patterns as well as to the cloud and precipitation distribution was also predicted. Potential climatic impacts and reliability of
large-scale offshore wind farms; ChienWang and Ronald G Prinn, Center for Global Change Science and Joint Program of the Science and Policy of Global Change, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 2011

They go on to say that, In contrast to the previous land installation results, the offshore wind turbine installations are found to cause a surface cooling over the installed offshore regions. This cooling is due principally to the enhanced latent heat flux from the sea surface to lower atmosphere, driven by an increase in turbulent mixing caused by the wind turbines which was not entirely offset by the concurrent reduction of mean wind kinetic energy. We found that the perturbation of the large-scale deployment of offshore wind turbines to the global climate is relatively small compared to the case of land-based installations. However, the intermittency caused by the significant seasonal wind variations over several major offshore sites is substantial, and demands further options to ensure the reliability of large-scale offshore Wind power. We need to be careful that we do not inadvertently create a global environmental crisis trying to solve another one. The potential impact on climate is something which needs more detailed review and analysis.

Cost and Infrastructure

The Power Grids As more wind generation has been added, grid operators have been challenged to integrate a large amount of intermittent generation. As the state with by far the most installed wind power

capacity, Texas has had to face this problem head on. Efficiency/cost

United States: Wind Energy: Dealing With Intermittency Challenges, 23 January 2012 Becky Diffen Originally published in Power Magazine, December 2011

Many who support wind technology continue to claim that Wind power is one of the most cost-effective sources of electricity available, capable of generating power at prices competitive with new natural gas plants and cheaper than new coal and nuclear plants. The capital cost to build a wind farm is substantial. Size and location are obvious factors that will impact on costs. Costs can range from hundreds of millions to over a billion dollars. Installation of off shore facilities is much more expensive to build and maintain that on shore installations. Michael Liebreich, CEO of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said that: The latest edition of our Wind Turbine Price Index shows wind continuing to become a competitive source of largescale power. For the past few years, wind turbine costs went up due to rising demand around the world and the increasing price of steel. Behind the scenes wind manufacturers were reducing their costs, and now we are seeing just how cheap wind energy can be when overcapacity in the supply chain works its way through to developers." Wind turbine prices fall to their
lowest in recent years, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Feb 2011

The cost of electricity generated from wind is now at record lows: several projects in high resource areas (US, Brazil, Sweden, Mexico) display a levelised cost of energy excluding the impact of subsidies but after including the cost of capital and maintenance below EUR 50/MWh ($68/MWh). This compares to current estimated average costs of $67 per MWh for coal-fired power and $56 per MWh for gas-fired power. Wind turbine prices fall to their lowest in recent
years, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Feb 2011

Table 1 compares costs for plant entering service by 2016 in the US. Indeed, it appears that on shore installations are becoming competitive against alternatives like coal. Off shore production is still much more costly than on shore.


Most recently however we are seeing indications that there are some who believe the costs are still prohibitive. Many are questioning the viability of continued government support in times of fiscal crisis.

The Cape Wind Project in the US will see the construction of 130 wind-powered turbines off the coast of Cape Cod Massachusetts that will, according to its developers, generate an average of 170 megawatts of electricity for the Bay State. The turbines will cost about $1 billion to build. Lets assume that the useful life of the wind turbines is twenty years, that the maintenance costs of the windmills is zero, and that nobody has to pay a dime of interest on the $1 billion worth of financing needed to construct these windmills. Even if we accept such wildly inaccurate and charitable assumptions, the cost of energy generated by Cape Wind over those twenty years will be over thirty-three cents per kilowatt. Thats more than six times the typical wholesale price for electrons today, around six cents per kilowatt, depending on the market. Is Wind Energy Really Cost Effective?;, Rich Trzupek, May 2010 The current global financial situation has governments looking for ways to reduce expenditures and there is a growing movement against subsidizing what some view as an expensive intermittent energy option. GOVERNMENTS are squandering billions of dollars on "uneconomic" wind farms, according to a landmark study that undermines the case for Labours huge renewable energy subsidies.Billions blown away on wind power, says British study, The Australian National Affairs, David Crowe, March 9

A recent article in the Telegraph (UK) stated that ; Off shore wind farms cost twice as much to produce electricity as gas and coal powered stations and will need subsidies for at least 20 years, a major report warns. Britain's offshore windpower costs twice as much as coal and gas generated
electricity, March 2012

A July 2011 Energy Department study found that oil, natural gas and coal received an average of US64 of subsidy per megawatt hour in 2010. Wind power received nearly 100 times more, or US$56.29 per megawatt hour.U.S. Should Kill all Energy Subsidies National Post Mar. 8, 2012 ,From an editorial
in The Wall Street Journal:

The challenge facing the new Liberal Democrat energy secretary, Ed Davey, has been laid bare by the revelation that 101 Tory MPs (UK)are demanding drastic cuts to the 400m-a-year government subsidies for windfarms. Chris Huhne's successor faces clash as Tories attack windfarms spending;
The Observer, Feb. 4 2012.


In a radical change of policy, the Netherlands is reducing its targets for renewable energy and slashing the subsidies for wind and solar power. It's also given the green light for the country's first new nuclear power plants for almost 40 years. Why the change? Wind and solar subsidies are too expensive. Holland slashes carbon targets, shuns wind for nuclear; Andrew Orlowski, The
Register, Feb. 2011

China will need to curb wind energy development to protect its domestic industry. In China the issue is not so much the financial cost but rather over supply. The Chinese government may implement stricter controls on wind projects and manufacturing this year to prevent a capacity glut and falling prices that threaten its most prominent wind energy players. Never the less they will continue to lead the world in Wind implementations. We would expect to see growth in deployments to continue over the next few years as current approved wind farms are implemented. It takes a few years for a wind project to move from planning through approval to implementation. One thing is for certain, government subsidies and credits are key to any on-going research and growth in the wind/energy market.

Global Adoption
The total amount of economically extractable power available from the wind is considerably more than present human power use from all sources. At the end of 2010, worldwide nameplate capacity of wind-powered generators was 197 gigawatts (GW). Wind power now has the capacity to generate 430 TWh annually, which is about 2.5% of worldwide electricity usage. Over the past five years the average annual growth in new installations has been 27.6 percent. Wind power market penetration is expected to reach 3.35 percent by 2013 and 8 percent by 2018. Several countries have already achieved relatively high levels of wind power penetration, such as 21% of stationary electricity production in Denmark, 18% in Portugal 16% in Spain 14% in Ireland and 9% in Germany in 2010. As of 2011, 83 countries around the world are using wind power on a commercial basis. Windpower Wikipedia The Global Wind Energy Council has predicted that the global wind market for Wind Technology will grow by 276% to reach 332,000 MW of total installed capacity by 2013, representing an addition of 212,000 MW and over $500 billion in investment in 5 years. This

would result in wind energy accounting for around 3% of global electricity production (up from just over 1% in 2007). Wind Technology Roadmap (WindTRM) is an industry-led, government supported
initiative National Research Council of Canada

For the first time in 20 years, growth of the global wind power market faltered, stumbling by 5.8% to 35.7GW in 2010 (37.9GW in2009). The North American market has taken a knock and the European market has slowed down. On the other hand Asian market growth has crept up steadily and now has a grip on more than half the global market. Wind Power Barometer, EurObservER
Feb 2011

The German market is clearly on a downslide. According to DEWI (the German Wind Energy Institute), 1 551MW of capacity was installed during 2010, as against 1 917MW in 2009, which is a drop of 19.1%.
Wind Power Barometer, EurObservER Feb 2011

Still Germany is the world's third largest user of wind power behind China and the United States followed by Spain. In a recent interview, Alexander Koffka, Director of Corporate Communications at ABO Wind said that ABO expects to install around 100 MW of wind power capacity in Germany in 2012, a significant increase over the 40 MW installed in 2011. According to the European World Energy Association (EWEA) report of February 2011, there are over 12,000 wind turbines in Europe with a total capacity of 84 GW. The leading countries in Europe are Germany (26.4GW) and Spain (20.7GW) followed far behind by the UK (5.2GW), France (5.2GW) and Italy (4.9GW). A total of 20 countries have a capacity of more than 100MW.[3] The EWEA estimates that 230GW of wind capacity will be installed in Europe by 2020, consisting of 190GW onshore and 40GW offshore. This would produce 14-17% of the EU's electricity. Wind Power in the European Union Wikipedia The majority of Europes wind farms are based offshore; in reality Europe is in the lead in what concerns offshore wind energy. Offshore turbines are not only fewer offensives compared to turbines that are found on land but the wind speed is often significantly quicker over open waters. Is America Really Adopting Clean Energy? Renewable Power News , Feb. 2011. The Canadian Wind Energy Association has outlined a future strategy for wind energy that would reach a capacity of 55,000 MW by 2025, meeting 20% of the countrys energy needs.

About 6.8 gigawatts of wind power were installed in the U.S. in 2011, bringing the total nationwide capacity to nearly 47 gigawatts, enough to power about 12 million homes at any given time, according to the American Wind Energy Association. That is about 3% of total U.S. generating capacity. India is ranked fifth worldwide in total existing wind power capacity, (as of Jan 2011). The Asian market is casting an increasingly long shadow over the worlds other regional markets. In 2010, it was responsible for over half the newly installed capacity in the world (53.3%), ahead of Europe, which still accounts for more than a quarter of the global market (27.4%), and North America (16.3%) which almost went into free fall (YrVpZ 2H). Yet Europe will have the highest total installed capacity for some time to come as it is home to 44.3% of the global wind turbine base ahead of Asia (30.1%) and North America (22.7%). Wind Power Barometer,
EurObservER feb 2011

Brazil is leading Latin America's wind energy market with 31.6 gigawatts of capacity expected to be installed by 2025, according to a recent study. Brazil's market size is expected to represent 69 percent of the total installed capacity in 2025 in Latin America followed by Mexico and Chile, a study from IHS Emerging Energy Research noted. Brazil leads Latin America wind
energy markets study, International business Times May 5 2010

As of October 2010, there were 52 wind farms in Australia, most of which had turbines of from 1.5 to 3 megawatts (MW). The total operating wind generating capacity at this time was 1,880 MW, with annual production of almost 5,000 GWh providing close to two percent of Australia's national electricity demand. Wind Power in Australia, Wikipedia

At the beginning of this exercise we were very much pro wind. In fact, we believe that all alternative energy sources are worth investigating. Although this paper took some twists and turns that we did not expect we are still supportive of and believe in wind as a viable energy source.


We anticipate that costs will come down as production ramps up and we begin to arrive at designs that produce the best results. The continued support and growth in the industry will still require a lot of government support and subsidies. We are seeing more and more kick back and moves to reduce government financial involvement. Many of the health concerns can be addressed by not placing wind farms in close proximity to where people live and work. Some have suggested 2 kilometers as a minimum distance. More research into health impact needs to take place before we can agree on a safe distance. The potential environmental impact is something we need to look at a lot more carefully. Much of the impetus towards alternative energy is to help reduce the impact that burning fossil fuels has on climate change. Suggestions that wind could impact climate change needs to be investigated in more closely. Although we expect to see continued growth in the implementation of wind technology much of that will be projects that are already approved or underway. The most recent announcements could result in a drop in wind implementations that will have impact within the next three to five years.