Clean Power

Published on November 14th, 2013 | by Joshua S Hill


Siemens Plans To Reduce Cost Of Wind Power Production

November 14th, 2013 by  

Siemens Energy are planning to reduce the costs of offshore wind power in the coming years by increasing output, reducing weight, and improving the production and installation processes of wind power installation.

Windkraft auf dem Weg zur Kostensenkung / Wind power on its way to cost reduction

Siemens Wind Power is presenting at Stand 31C40 in Building 3.1 at the Frankfurt trade fair.
Image Credit: Siemens

The direction comes hand-in-hand with their attendance at the EWEA Offshore Trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany, where they are introducing their new range of 4 MW and 6 MW wind turbines, where they will also outline their strategies towards improving their production and installation processes.

“We want to reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for offshore wind power by up to 40 percent before the end of the decade”, declares Siemens Wind Power CTO Henrik Stiesdal. “This means that starting as early as 2020, we will offer our customers technologies that allows offshore wind power to be produced for less than 10 euro cents per kilowatt hour.”

We won’t have to wait until 2020 to see any changes to Siemens’ production methods, however. The nacelle and rotor of the new SWT-6.0-154 6 MW wind turbine they are promoting at the EWEA fair are already one third lighter than that of comparative systems, thanks in part to the introduction of direct-drive technology, which does away with the need for a gearbox.

The 4 MW offshore models are similarly displaying improvements, including upgraded generators and “aeroelastic” rotot blades, which are designed to be flexible under high wind situations and are produced with up to 20% reduced mass compared to traditional blades.

“Environmental benefits, energy supply stability and positive impacts on domestic job markets are frequently underestimated in the discussion on renewable energy sources”, added Stiesdal, pointing to further aspects of Siemens’ efforts moving forward. “These aspects, which influence the true ‘society’s cost of energy’, should also be incorporated into the ongoing cost debate.”


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  • Suman Chakraborty

    Wind & Solar will breach Grid parity by 2020 for sure.
    Focus should be on Smart Grids and Battery technology now.

  • Dave2020

    “reduce the costs of offshore wind power . . . by increasing output”

    What if that happens to be a false premise? Wind turbines are already being curtailed, even at current low penetrations. Over-capacity, churning out more wrong-time electricity, without a commensurate level of energy storage, will simply waste that extra output – ergo, the LCOE may be no better. These strategic developments are probably heading up a technology dead-end creek, which embeds high running costs.

    Past reliability issues (e.g. gear-train) have been sorted, but O&M has been and will continue to be expensive because of access difficulties. Historically, foundations and installation account for 40% of the cost of an offshore turbine. O&M and installation BOTH require special vessels, which would be unnecessary, if the industry adopted advanced floating designs instead. Future refurbishment and replacement would be much cheaper.
    “A dynamic platform could be built using the same material content and it would harvest wave energy as a function of stabilizing the wind turbine.”

    The UK has virtually no domestic wind industry and is ideologically opposed to state planning of infrastructure and long-term investment in innovative manufacturing. (higher taxes and no quick ROI) We are dependent on foreign investment, which is all old technology. (wind and nuclear!)

    The European wind industry hasn’t gone for innovative floaters (aside from Norway and France), because there’s no shortage of shallow seas. Japan, on the other hand, can’t use sea-bed foundations, but they’re pressing ahead with hugely expensive platforms and no energy storage – the worst of both worlds.

  • Steeple

    Does anyone have any insight as to how offshore turbines have held up to the harsh seawater environment? I realize this is a very general question, but just wondering if they have met expectations on reliability.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Wind farms (farms) have held up well. I don’t know about individual turbines. Maintenance could be much higher than for onshore turbines.

      I’ll post a couple of graphs on the bottom that show wind farm holding up quite well.

      We’re just now getting turbines designed specifically for offshore use. These new turbines are likely better designed for use in a salty environment. They are being built without gear trains which will lower lifetime maintenance.

  • Others

    Sadly this year, the Wind energy being installed will be less than 30 GW while it has maintained 40 GW + for the last 2 years.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Yes. Congress screwed things up. They messed around approving a new wind bill and companies couldn’t plan ahead for 2013 installations.

      But we should see significant improvement in 2014 due to new subsidy rules which no longer require the wind farm be completed by the end of the calendar year in order to receive support.

      But thanks for your concerns….

  • jburt56

    There’s also an emerging technology of hydrostatic energy storage. . .

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