Vestas CEO Says U.S. is Prime for Wind Power Investment
“The potential over here is enormous,” says Vestas President and CEO Ditlev Engel in regard to the United States’ wind power market. With strong wind corridors stretching from Texas through to North Dakota, plenty of wide-open land, and some of the most ideal coastal wind conditions for offshore wind farms, the U.S. is well suited for a wind power revolution.
Just a few years back, Vestas—an industry-leading wind turbine manufacturer based in Denmark—decided to invest in a U.S. manufacturing base to serve the wind power needs of North America rather than import turbines from China or Europe. In fact, while most assume Chinese manufacturing to be the lowest cost, Vestas has noted that rising cost structures in Asia make the steady cost structures in the United States far more attractive for manufacturing. Not to mention, shipping prices are going through the roof due to oil price hikes, and making wind turbines in the United States for the U.S. market is proven less expensive than to import them.
This equates to more jobs being created for Americans in the growing wind power industry. Vestas employs approximately 3,000 workers throughout the United States and has a large factory in Colorado connected directly to a railroad line for further transportation cost reduction. Secondary employment is extended through the various suppliers that Vestas relies on for parts, which come from 30 U.S. states.
"Our view is that the competition will further intensify, so being in the region for the region is important for us," Engel said. "If Vestas had not gone down this path, it would have been very difficult for us."
SEE RELATED STORIES IN THE WDM CONTENT NETWORK
Vestas had record turbine orders in 2010 to the tune of 1,880 megawatts. But Engel believes that the industry needs to work harder to convey to U.S. citizens the benefits of wind power. "It seems that many people can more easily relate to a lot of oil in the ground than to a lot of wind in the air," he says.
Engel also hopes that fears of exporting turbine manufacturing jobs to China will be subdued. "I think the good news from our industry ... is that it is not a worry people need to have. If you want to have more wind in the United States, the best way to do that is make it in the U.S." he says.
Engel does have one big concern, however, that both the private and government sectors will need to address to truly achieve a renewable energy society, and that’s an aging electrical grid. "No doubt transmission is a major concern," he asserts.
Nonetheless, the United States seems poised for a wind power renaissance, and Vestas, along with another domestic wind industry giant, General Electric, will likely lead the race toward a renewable energy society with wind power at the helm.
Sungrow links Europe's largest energy storage plant to grid
Europe's largest energy storage project, the 100MW/100MWh Minety plant featuring Sungrow's 1500V energy storage system solutions, has been successfully connected to the UK grid.
The UK experienced the most debilitating blackout in nearly a decade in August 2019. The incident exposed the serious lack of frequency regulation of the national grid and demonstrated that the construction of energy storage projects that can regulate the frequency of the grid in a timely fashion should be prioritised. The Minety project, which began at the end of 2019, considerably mitigates the problem and is designed for facilitating grid stability and maximising renewable energy utilisation.
Sungrow supplied both NCM and LFP battery energy storage system solutions featuring high integration, which minimise the footprint, slash the commissioning duration and significantly reduce the system cost by 5%. The solution well meets the latest UK frequency regulation requirement called dynamic containment - requesting the plant to respond to the power instruction of the grid within 1 second, making the project one of the rare 30% of the UK's storage plants equipped with this function.
"We are proud of being part of this landmark project, offering solutions with extreme efficiency and safety while in compliance with the stringent UK grid codes," said James Wu, Vice President of Sungrow, which shipped more than 800MWh of energy storage systems in 2020.
Battery storage capacity in the UK is likely to heavily increase as move towards operating a zero-carbon energy system. At the end of 2019 the GB battery storage capacity was 0.88GWh. National Grid forecasts it could be as high as 2.30GWh in 2025.
Global energy storage updates
TEVOCS has announced the launch of a powerful series of universal portable power stations that provide reliable power for off-grid situations, travel, home backup and more. With an impressive 2080WH capacity and 2000W output, the TEVOCS power station is billed as 'the ultimate power station for modern life' and is available here.
Enlight Renewable Energy has completed the acquisition of 90.1% of the holdings in Clēnera LLC, a leading and seasoned company in the field of initiation, development, construction and operation of solar energy and energy storage projects in the United States.
Last month Canadian Solar Inc. was awarded the first utility-scale battery storage project in Colombia of 45 MW/45 MWh. The project was awarded in the public tender launched by Colombia's Ministry of Energy and Mines, via its affiliate UPME, the Mining and Energy Planning Unit.