Germany and UK
In eastern Germany, turbines in strong wind can produce more than all German coal and gas plants put together, while the need to switch off turbines in high winds causes a drop-off in electricity of 12GW - equal to two nuclear power plants. Outages are likely if there is too little demand or storage capacity to accommodate the jumps in supply.
Rochdale council could face significant legal costs if it moves to block the construction of a windfarm on the hills above Watergrove reservoir.
That was the stark warning given to Rochdale Township planning sub-committee this week by a senior planning officer.
E.ON AG and Vattenfall Europe AG are among utilities leading a worldwide push to develop offshore wind power, overcoming a lack of work ships, stormy seas and higher costs to make almost twice the profit they would on land. ...While the benefits of stronger, more frequent breezes offshore are evident to some investors, the risks imply the need for caution, said the EBRD's Zielinski.
"Offshore wind is not for the faint-hearted," he said. "And you need deep pockets."
"The next big phase of development in places like Germany and Holland will be offshore, where the resources are so much better." ...In Britain, where around 1.5 percent of electricity is produced by wind, opposition to 50 metre-tall turbines near homes has meant companies are also looking out to sea.
"The land-grab has happened," said John-Marc Bunce, alternative energy analyst at broker Ambrian Partners.
"In places like the UK there was never really enough land anyway and the government was crazy thinking anyone would want to have a wind turbine next to their house." ...But offshore wind is not without drawbacks, and over the longer term, it could be upstaged by other sources.
"It costs a lot more and it's a lot more difficult. The development of offshore technology is in the same place that onshore wind industry was eight, 10 years ago," said Sawyer at the Global Wind Energy Council.
E.ON (nyse: EON - news - people ) AG said it is planning to build a wind park off the coast of Yorkshire, where about 80 turbines will generate up to 300 MW of energy.
After the industry's recent boom years, wind power providers and experts are now concerned. The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting. Gearboxes hiding inside the casings perched on top of the towering masts have short shelf lives, often crapping out before even five years is up. In some cases, fractures form along the rotors, or even in the foundation, after only limited operation. Short circuits or overheated propellers have been known to cause fires. All this despite manufacturers' promises that the turbines would last at least 20 years.
The German utility company EON has unveiled plans to build a wind farm off the Scottish coast, which it said would be the biggest UK installation of its kind, with an aggregate capacity of 180 megawatts. The 338 million pound investment, which is expected to become operational in the spring of 2009, will produce 550 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year.
“There's legitimate debate about a couple of segments,” says Keith Raab, boss of Cleantech Venture Network. In some instances, valuations accorded to firms with no profits—and little chance of making any soon—were reminiscent of the excesses of the dotcom bubble. As Douglas Lloyd, of Venture Business Research, puts it, “There's too much money chasing too few opportunities. How is it possible that this many solar companies are going to succeed? They're not.”
The German distributor E.ON admitted it caused the blackouts, by switching off a power cable across the River Ems to allow a cruise ship to pass.
This meant areas to the west were left with a power deficit, while cables in the east were overloaded.
Supplies cut out in Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Croatia and Italy.
The EU's Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs has called for the European Transmission System Operators (ETSO) to identify the problem urgently and ensure that such a blackout does not happen again.
For the first time, a five-megawatt wind turbine by REpower Systems AG (Prime Standard, WKN 617703) has been set up for the first time on the open sea. The first of a total of two turbines for the "Beatrice" demonstrator wind farm has just been set up on a lattice-like jacket structure, piled to the seabed at a depth of 44 metres in the Scottish North Sea, in the Moray Firth.
They introduced the world to "environmentally friendly" energy, but now some of Europe's "greenest" countries are under pressure to backtrack on wind farms as public anger grows over their impact on the countryside.
In conclusion, this study has shown that in many countries deregulation is having the expected effect of increased competition leading to price reduction. However, it is evident that pricing in markets depends not just on the status of deregulation, but also on the broader aspects of competition. Key factors here include the balance of supply and demand, generation fuel costs, the learning process that new markets go through, competition within different market segments and the costs of access to transmission and distribution networks. Deregulation is a long-term process that requires sustained attention.