WORLD FINANCE: On October 11, General Electric (GE) announced it had acquired Denmark’s LM Wind Power for $1.65bn, as the conglomerate seeks to establish itself as a world leader in the rapidly expanding renewable energies market.
LM Wind Power is one of the world’s largest producers of wind turbine blades, supplying approximately 50 percent of all blades used in offshore wind farms on turbines of over 5MW. The deal will allow GE’s renewable energy business to handle the design and manufacture of wind turbine blades in-house.
“This deal will merge the speed and focus of LM Wind Power’s entrepreneurial culture with GE’s world-class engineering and operational capabilities”, said LM Wind Power CEO, Marc de Jong.
The billion-dollar deal marks the latest move in GE’s ongoing green energy drive
“Our two organisations are highly complementary, and the transaction positions us well to respond faster to customer needs and enhance performance of wind turbines to ultimately reduce the cost of energy.”
Under the terms of the deal, GE will operate LM Wind Power as a standalone unit with the aim of encouraging its existing sales to the wind turbine industry, while attempting to expand on LM’s established working relationships. While the acquisition is subject to regulator approval, GE anticipates that the transaction will be finalised in the first half of 2017.
The billion-dollar deal marks the latest move in GE’s ongoing green energy drive. Last year, the conglomerate created a separate division for its renewable energy business in order to focus on developing advanced technology for use in wind, hydro and solar power. Since its inception, GE’s green energy unit has installed over 30,000 wind turbines worldwide, while its hydro generators and turbines account for more than 25 percent of global installed hydroelectric capacity.
In June of this year, GE formed part of a group of powerful energy companies that jointly pledged to cut the cost of offshore wind farms to €80 per megawatt hour by 2025. As volumes of wind farms increase, the cost of producing wind energy has begun to fall rapidly, and is expected to be cheaper than both coal and gas by 2027, according to the Bloomberg New Energy Finance research group. With this new deal promising to cut costs further, GE’s profitable renewable energies business looks set to go from strength to strength.
TOKYO — Construction of a skyscraper like floating wind turbine, the world’s largest-class, is expected to be completed June 22 in Japan’s northeastern Fukushima Prefecture.
The government-sponsored project, carried out by some of Japan’s best-known companies and university, is touted as a symbol of the rebuilding of Fukushima, which was devastated by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown. The turbine will have the largest generating capacity of any offshore windmill in the world.
The port of Onahama in the city of Iwaki, forms a backdrop for the rising white tower and the massive crane used to erect it. The turbine, composed of three 82-meter-long blades and a 190-meter tower, is built to withstand wind speeds up to 300kph.
The Fukushima Wind Offshore Consortium, which is building the turbine and will operate it, includes trading house Marubeni, equipment maker Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, technology conglomerate Hitachi and the University of Tokyo.
The consortium received a mandate from the Japanese government to conduct studies on offshore wind power generation facilities. In late 2013, the first test turbine was installed off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, 20km, with a generating capacity of 2,000kW.
The consortium is now assembling the second test turbine at Onahama. The structure, which weighs 1,500 tons, sits atop a 5,000-ton floating steel platform. Once construction is compete, the turbine will be inspected and adjusted. It will then be moved offshore, 20km from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The second turbine is designed to generate up to 7,000kW of electricity, making it 3.5 times more powerful than the first. It will be the most powerful wind turbine in Japan and the most powerful floating wind turbine in the world. A land-based 8,000kW turbine has just gone online in Europe.
The technical phase of test-operation is almost complete. So far, there have been no technical failures with the first turbine. The test operation of the second turbine will focus on ironing out the kinks to commercialize the technology. “Japan has lagged behind Europe in offshore wind turbine development, but with this success, we will be able to leap to the global forefront in this area,” said Takeshi Ishihara, a University of Tokyo professor and consortium member.
ATSUSHI SATO, YOKO SHOJI and TAKERU GOTO, Nikkei staff writers
The second turbine features state-of-the-art technology. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries introduced unique oil-pressure technology for the turbine’s nacelle, in place of gears. The technology is said to be more resistant to the wear and tear caused by harsh conditions at sea.
Hitachi has developed an offshore transformer for the project. The electricity generated will be raised to around 66,000 volts and transmitted onshore via undersea cables. The idea is to send as much as electricity as possible through a cable, which have a capacity of around 20,000kW each.
Offshore wind power generation is common in Europe, where turbines are mostly sunk into the seabed in shallow water. Europe generates about 8 million kilowatts worth of offshore wind power, roughly equal to eight nuclear power plants. Some forecasts put annual investment in offshore wind power above that for onshore wind by around 2020.
Sea-based wind power offers the advantage of fewer space restrictions and higher wind speeds. This allows for construction of larger, more efficient turbines.
The Fukushima project adopts a floating turbine that is anchored to the sea floor by eight 950-meter chains weighing 300 tons each. Conventional offshore turbines can only be placed in waters up to 50 meters deep. Japan, which is surrounded by deep waters, lends itself to floating turbines.
Projects similar to the one in Fukushima are underway in Scotland, and off the coasts of Hawaii and Oregon in the U.S.
The cost of the Fukushima project has been put at 50 billion yen ($401 million). Germany’s Siemens is the global leader in offshore wind power. A joint venture between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and a Danish wind power company Vestas Wind Systems is No. 2.
With many new entrants from developing nations in the global wind power market, price competition in turbines is heating up. To spark new demand, it will be necessary to halve the cost of offshore wind farms. Balancing technology and cost will be key if wind power is to reach its full potential as an alternative energy source.
deutsche welle: Global Ideas: When I first saw your invention, the Moya, I thought you where holding a curtain. But it’s obviously something very different. What is it?
Charlotte Slingsby: It is a lightweight, flexible sheeting material that can independently harvest low grade wind energy in a variety of locations. It can be applied like a fabric to many different surfaces.
How did you come up with the idea?
As fossil fuels rapidly diminish, the need for alternative, clean energy solutions is essential to a sustainable future. Contemporary clean energy solutions, such as solar panels and wind turbine farms, demand the clearing of land, presenting a further challenge to our environment and undermining their sustainability. Furthermore, wind turbine generated energy requires durable, advanced and costly infrastructure as well as high speed, laminate winds while solar panels require a large, unobstructed surface area with consistent sun exposure. Undoubtedly, energy farming will continue to play a valuable role in providing power in the future. However, I decided to explore cost effective energy generation on the surfaces of existing infrastructure.
Moya can be used wherever it’s breezy
Where can Moyas be used?
With Moya sheets I sought to develop a clean energy solution that does not rely on prime real estate or expensive infrastructure. Moya sheets are designed to scavenge off low grade energy. This involves vibrations and low speed, turbulent winds generating power 24 hours a day, mounted on otherwise dormant, contained locations, hidden from public view.
What kind of material did you use?
Each Moya sheet comprises of thousands of free standing filaments. Each filament is embedded with a flexible piezoelectric film that converts strain energy, caused by the movement of the wind, into electrical energy.
You are originally from South Africa – is there any connection between the energy situation in the country and your invention?
I recently graduated (July 2015) in Innovation Design Engineering, which is a unique double masters in engineering and art, at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art. Moya began as part of my masters six month solo project. Considering it being a solo project in which we were tasked to define our own brief, I decided to pursue tackling challenges close to home. In light of the current energy crisis in South Africa, I began exploring alternative energy solutions. This led to Moya power, a lightweight, flexible sheeting material that can independently harvest low grade wind energy in a variety of locations.
Why did you choose wind power over solar power?
My project evolved into wind energy harvesting as I wanted to find a solution to absorb the abundant and low grade wind energy that is constantly moving around us, yet there is currently no solution to take advantage of it. This low grade energy can be harvested from the most obscure and inaccessible locations, such as underneath bridges or lining tunnels. Therefore it can give value to otherwise wasted space.
Moya is currently in the research and development phase
What is the current development status of Moya, would it be possible to have it on a larger scale?
I am currently in the research and development phase. I am in the process of sourcing funding with the goal of bringing Moya power to mass manufacturing level. I have made some exciting contacts and hope to see this project through to implementation.
What are the difficulties in developing an idea like this?
As with any new technology, a great deal of testing and large start-up costs are required before it is mass producible.
Thank you very much for the interview.
GE garap pembangkit listrik tenaga bayu
OLEH NURBAITI Bisnis Indonesia
General Electric (GE), perusahaan infrastruktur, jasa finansial, dan media asal Amerika Serikat, berkomitmen mendukung Indonesia untuk mengembangkan potensi angin dan batu bara bersih sebagai sumber energi listrik.
Direktur GE Power & Water di Indonesia Gatot Prawiro mengungkapkan pengembangan potensi sumber energi baru terbarukan yang cukup besar tersebut, membutuhkan dukungan dan keberpihakan kebijakan dari pemerintah.
“Dengan [keberpihakan] kebijakan pemerintah itu, mungkin kita bisa berbuat lebih karena potensi yang ada di sini [Indonesia] memang cukup besar,” ujar dia, kemarin.
Berdasarkan studi dan pengukuran di beberapa tempat di wilayah Indonesia bagian timur selama hampir 2 tahun, kata dia, potensi angin untuk menghasilkan tenaga listrik mencapai lebih dari 80 megawatt (MW). Akan tetapi, tambahnya, hingga kini belum ada kebijakan pemerintah yang menetapkan soal harga jual listrik untuk pembangkit listrik tenaga bayu (PLTB).
“Kalau untuk listrik yang dihasilkan energi lain, kan ada pengaturannya. Ka
lau [harga listrik] angin memang belum ada. Mungkin perlu insentif pajak, bea masuk, dan lainnya yang bisa mendukung pengembangan PLTB ini.” Dia mengakui investasi pembangunan PLTB sampai menghasilkan listrik membutuhkan dana yang cukup besar atau paling tinggi mencapai US$1,3 jutaUS$1,5 juta per MW dengan perkiraan harga jual listrik maksimum US$0,010US$0,013 sen per kWh.
Namun, kata dia, kekhawatiran terjadinya kekurangan tenaga listrik yang dihasilkan dari sumber energi baru terbarukan sangat kecil.
Pada bagian lain, GE akan menggandeng Badan Pengkajian dan Penerapan Teknologi (BPPT) untuk mengembangkan potensi energi terbarukan di Indonesia.
Chairman & CEO GE Jeff Immelt mengungkapkan kerja sama yang tertuang dalam nota kesepahaman (memorandum of understanding/MoU) itu dilakukan untuk membantu Tanah Air dalam memenuhi kebutuhan tenaga listrik dengan memanfaatkan sumber energi terbarukan, bersih, efisien, dan ramah lingkungan.
“MoU yang ditandatangani hari ini [kemarin] diharapkan bisa memfasilitasi teknologi energi baru terbarukan sebagai bagian dari clean energy di Indonesia,” tutur dia.