China, the U.S. and Germany are the uncontested leaders of the wind energy sector. Thanks to their commitment and provided there are strong winds, the installed capacity of rotor blades is now higher than all of the nuclear power stations worldwide. Attempts are underway to expand wind energy as it more affordable and the technology is fully developed. The Renewable Energy Cluster Hamburg (EEHH) has pointed to certain countries in terms of wind energy.
Hamburg-based Spitzner successful in Canada
Canada ranks seventh in the Global Wind Energy Councils (GWEC) international ranking. Unlike the German government that aims to curb the expansion of wind energy, the newly-elected liberal government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is putting almost EUR 4 billion towards fighting climate change and measures to promote renewable energy. In the past five years, Canada’s wind power has grown an average 23 per cent and now covers 5 per cent of the population’s energy needs.
Wind energy is thus the strongest source of energy in renewable energies after hydropower. The Hamburg-based Spitzner Engineers GmbH also operates in Canada. The firm installed, for instance, a patented retrofittable rotor blade heating system, which allows for ice-free and safe operation of the wind turbine during the winter. Jörg Spitzner, Manager, said: “We are paying close attention to Canada and hope that the government plans will be implemented in a timely manner.”
Mexico presses ahead with expansions
Mexico currently ranks 18th and since 2013, the government has gradually been liberalising the electricity market. Accordingly, over 700 MW of wind energy have been installed since 2015, which led to a total capacity of around 3,000 MW, and accounts for a 4.7 per cent share of the overall energy mix. Experts are expecting an additional 800 MW this year and believe Mexico could reach installed capacity of 15,000 MW in wind power by late 2022.
Britain by comparison ranks sixth in the international ranking and currently produces around 11,000 MW. Last October, Nordex SE, a leading provider of megawatt turbines, and Spain’s turbine producer, Acciona Windpower, merged and are now eyeing Mexico’s market. Lars Bondo Krogsgaard, CEO of Nordex SE, said: “High double digit expansion targets for ‘green’ electricity and the opening of the market for private investors has made Mexico one of our top markets in America. Today, we already have orders for several hundred megawatts or they are in stock. Our AW series in particular with different kinds of blades and hub heights are excellently tailored to the requirements in the country.”
Growth in South Africa
The wind energy sector is also growing rapidly in South Africa. Although the country ranks among “others” in the GWEC ranking, it has 740 MW of installed capacity and exisiting wind energy parks account for 2.5 per of the overall energy mix. South Africa is aiming for 6,000 MW of installed wind energy capacity by 2020 and “will reach this target”, says Thomas Richterich, CEO Onshore at Siemens Wind Power. Richterich noted: “We recognise the present government’s great efforts to push ahead vigorously with the expansion of wind energy.”
Sector heading for new departure
Jan Rispens, Managing Director of EEHH-Cluster, said: “In addition to Canada, Mexico and South Africa, many other countries are undertaking huge efforts to expand wind energy. They are examples of a global sector that is undergoing change – and this is regularly reflected by the need for support from the respective government. Wind energy technology is so well developed and affordable that the expansion of wind energy is becoming a self-runner in many of the global markets.”
However, Rispens warned the German government of needlessly choking the expansion of the domestic wind energy sector. “As global wind energy markets are coming into the swing, Germany should not lose sight of the value of its innovative domestic market for wind energy. We must stay on target.”