English - Nooteboom Giants on the Road Magazine English - Nr. 6 - 2019 - Page 36

GIANTS ON THE ROAD FORECAST UP TO 2022 One of the aims of ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ is to streamline and speed up the procedures. The EU will lay down stringent rules regarding the reduction of CO2 emissions and cutting back the use of fossil fuels. Up to 2017 generating electricity via wind turbines was more expensive than generating it via conventional coal-fired generation plants. That situation has changed, due to new, vastly improved technology. Wind energy can now compete without a subsidy. As a result of the reduced cost the demand for new windmills worldwide will continue to be high, with a growth percentage of more than 10% per annum. In Europe 2017 was a record year, but for the next few years a lower growth of around 7% is expected. Offshore wind parks around the North Sea account for most of this increase. Their capacity is going to double in the next five years. Within the EU they are working on raising the objective for generating clean energy up to 2030. The new objective for 2030 is 32% clean energy. This could give the construction of windmills in Europe a boost after 2022. THE PROBLEMS It’s not only the lengthy procedures that restrict the growth of the number of windmills. Clear-cut solutions have not been found yet either for the storage and transport of the energy generated. ‘Power- management’ systems should improve the coordination between CLEAN ENERGY FOR ALL EUROPEANS At the end of 2017 a total capacity of 168.7 GW had been installed in Europe, of which 153 GW on land and 15.7 GW offshore. This means the wind parks generated 11.6% of the total energy consumption in the EU. Frontrunners are Denmark (44%) and Portugal (24%). Wind energy provides employment for more than 270,000 people in Europe. For many European countries 2017 was a transitional year. Subsidy schemes will be scaled down in the coming years and growth is restricted by cumbersome and lengthy procedures for the installation of windmills. CUMULATIVE INSTALLATIONS ONSHORE AND OFFSHORE IN THE EU 200 GW ■  15.8 Onshore 13 11 150 8.1 6.6 5.0 3.8 100 3.0 2.1 1.5 1.1 50 0.8 0.7 56 47 40 2005 2006 2007 73 64 2008 2009 91 82 2010 2011 111 101 2012 2013 2014 153 141 131 121 2015 2016 2017 Total: 168.7 GW Source: WindEurope ■  More than 90% of all wind turbines are onshore MARKET FORECAST 2018-2022 900 GW % 10,6% 9,8% 800 9,7% 9,6% 9,6% 8,8% 700 12 10 8,8% 8,4% 600 8 6,3% 6 500 4 400 2 300 0,2% 100 0 0,3% 200 -2 -3,2% -4 2017 Cumulative installed capacity Cumulative capacity growth rate Annual installed capacity Annual installed capacity growth rate 539.1 GW 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 592 GW 649.5 GW 711.8 GW 774.4 GW 840.9 GW 10.6% 9.8% 9.7% 9.6% 9.6% 8.8% 52.5 GW 52.9 GW 57.5 GW 62.4 GW 62.6 GW 66.5 GW -3.2% 0.2% 8.8% 8.4% 0.3% 6.3% Source: GWEC ■  36 An artist’s impression of a ship for the transport of hydrogen gas Offshore Constant growth, but the percentage is declining demand and supply. New cables (such as the Cobra cable between the Netherlands and Denmark) will be laid for a better distribution of the generated energy over the European electricity network. For the storage of energy solutions are being sought within Europe and worldwide. One example: in Austria excess energy is stored by pumping water into a lake high in the mountains. The Obervermunt II hydroelectric power station can feed this capacity back to the grid. In Germany there is a pilot project in which a concrete water basin is fitted around the tower of four wind turbines. The storage capacity: 70 MWh, enough for 4,000 electric cars to drive 100 km. The most promising development is the production of hydrogen gas using wind energy. Hydrogen gas can be transported by ship, but the European gas pipeline network could be adapted too. Switching to hydrogen gas as an energy carrier is a huge technical challenge. Furthermore, the cost which currently still is around € 10 per kilogramme must clearly come down. Using hydrogen gas would solve two important problems: storage and transport. Wind energy has to be generated in places where there the wind is strong and where the windmills cause minimum disturbance to the local residents. It is not inconceivable that in 20 or 30 years we will be using hydrogen gas that has been transported by sea from countries around the Pacific. In that case the key areas for the construction of new wind turbines will move to regions a long way from Europe where the wind is strong. Other problems: a rapid transition to the use of electric cars requires major investments in the European electricity network. It is almost certain that in the future the wind and sun will be the source of our energy supply, with the cost of solar energy coming down too. Experts have stated that just part of the Sahara can generate enough solar power for the whole of Europe. In parts of Europe, on a windy day, there is already a surplus of electric energy. The challenge for the coming years is storage, transport and adapting the networks.