Genesis Morocco: Two Firsts in Wind Energy

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Genesis Morocco

Project Genesis is a strategic sustainable development framework for Morocco to translate from being a net importer of energy and a country facing water shortage issues, into the number one producer both of clean renewable energy and water in the region.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011    <<Home

Two Firsts in Wind Energy

Personal Notes : Wind power becomes the first source of energy in Spain, and China is the number one in installed wind capacity and growing.

Wind Becomes Spain's Biggest Energy Source

Madrid, Spain -- Spain saw wind power become its main source of electricity generation last month, underscoring the country's progress in becoming one of Europe's greenest nations.

Power network operator Red Electrica (REE) said Iberian wind farms generated 4,738 GWh of electricity in March to meet 21% of demand, 5% above the year-ago monthly rate, fueled by heavier winds than usual.

“As parks spun their blades, the country saved €250m by lowering its oil-import bill. It also saved 1.7m tonnes of CO2," according to Spain's Wind Industry Association AEE.

Altogether, clean energy met 42.2% of electricity demand though this was down from 48.5 percent against March 2010.

Hydropower accounted for 17.3%, solar energy for 2.6%, nuclear for 19% and coal-powered for 12.9%.

"This historic milestone reached by wind energy shows that this energy source, as well as being indigenous, clean and increasingly competitive, is also capable of supplying power to three million Spanish households," AEE president Jose Donoso said in a statement.

The production was enough to cover Portugal's monthly electricity consumption, AEE noted.

Spain is the world's fourth-largest wind-power market.

China Installing Wind-power Capacity As Fast As It Can

By Ivan Castano, Contributor
April 7, 2011

The country is on track to have 43 GW of installed wind-power capacity
by the end of the year.

Beijing, China -- China is on track to install as much as 18 GWs of
wind-power capacity this year as the world's second-biggest economy
continues to diversify its energy resources, according to officials at
Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association

"We hope that that much capacity will come online this year," says Ma
Lingjuan, the trade body's vice secretary general.

Though ambitious, the build up will be significantly smaller than the
25 GWs that went online last year.

If all goes well, the country will end 2011 with a total of 58 GWs of
installed capacity, moving ahead with plans to install as much as
150-230 GWs over the next decade. China already has the world's
largest installed wind capacity.

The new capacity will be state built and financed, like much else in
China. According to observers, five national power companies - China
Power Investment Group, Guodian, Datant, Huanent and Huadian will
build the largest wind farms. So far, the largest of them is Datant's
400 MW farm in the Jiling province.

Overall, the country will invest 5000 RMB per kW (US $764) or about US
$764,000 per MW of wind turbine capacity.  Ma says the price is
declining fast, with some turbines selling for as little as 4000 RMB
(US $611) per kW. State banks will fund the developers behind the
projects but some international banks and the World Bank will also
provide financing, she adds.

The bulk of the new capacity will be onshore with just 100 MW
earmarked for offshore capacity in the Guangzhou province in Eastern

The Northeast provinces of Inner Mongolia, Hebei and Gansu will likely
host most of the new projects, deepening their geographical lead in
the industry. The three provinces account for 80% of installed
capacity with Inner Mongolia taking up as much as one third.

When asked why China is putting so much money behind wind, Lingjuan
says the technology is cheaper to develop than solar or biomass, where
the collection of raw material is very challenging in China.

"Wind power is the most economically feasible technology that can be
developed at a large scale," she adds.

Wind is likely to lead China's renewables agenda.  The country hopes
to derive 15% of its power generation from clean energy by 2020.

Underscoring just how lucrative the industry has become, largest wind
developer Longyuan Power Group last month announced that its profits
had more than doubled over last year to 2bn Yuan (US $305 million)
from just under 900m Yuan (US $137 million) the year before. The
company said it hopes to install 2 GW of capacity this year, bringing
the total it operates to 9 GW.

In addition, the cash-rich firm is expanding abroad, making no secret
of its plans to "proactively" expand in South Africa, North America
and Eastern Europe.

Connection, Pricing Challenges

But wind power development in China is not without difficulties. The
industry faces several growth challenges including a still limited
interconnection capacity and an escalating price war between

Lingjuan says around 10% of last year's installed capacity cannot be
connected to the network due to grid barriers. While the government
has pledged to resolve the matter, Ma says more innovation and
investment is needed to ensure these and the upcoming wind farms can
be successfully plugged to the domestic power network.

According to observers, the state has promised to invest 500bn RMB (US
$76 billion) to expand the country's power network to accommodate the
growing wind industry's requirements.

Linda Chen, director of strategy and business development at Spanish
wind-power firm Gamesa, says pricing competition is also fierce,
making it hard for foreign turbine manufacturers to penetrate the
Chinese market.

"Apart from transmission challenges, there are very competitive
pricing issues. The domestic manufacturers can sell at very low
prices," Chen says, adding that she hopes new market regulations will
even the playing field.

That has not stopped Gamesa from growing in China, however, taking on
other leading local turbine manufacturers such as Sinovel and
Goldwind. Sinovel is currently in second place in terms of market
share in the global wind turbine manufacturing space with Goldwind
ranking number four.  Gamesa is currently the sixth largest wind
turbine manufacturer.

Gamesa has invested €90 million (US $128 million) to build five
manufacturing plants in the country since 2000. It hopes to open a
sixth one — which will make nacelles — by the end of the year.

Overall, Gamesa has 2,200 MW of installed turbine capacity and over
2,700 MW of installed capacity in its own wind farms.

According to Lingjuan, turbine manufacturers are also set to pour
millions to improve their anti-disaster technology in light of Japan's
recent earthquake and tsunami. Though Japan's wind industry reportedly
survived the tragedy unscathed – due to its robust anti-quake design -
China is said to lag behind Japan in this regard, observers say.

Lingjuan says manufacturers are keenly aware of China's vulnerability
to earthquakes and tsunamis and acknowledges designs "need
improvement," especially for offshore wind facilities.

Both articles sourced :