Being an Island resident and keen supporter of all the redundant and sacked Vestas Workers I attend as many rallies as is physically possible and also spend time keeping up to date with the numerous events around the country and abroad. In doing so I stumbled across this article written in the ‘Colorado Energy News’ which your colleagues may find interesting reading.
I feel its high time the Government on behalf of the workforce reclaimed the ‘Vestas Blade Making Company’, as it was paid for with public funds, and stood shoulder to shoulder with the former workers on the Isle Of Wight, and in Southampton by offering them a cheque for £3m to kick start a co-operative.
Keep fighting for we are all behind you.
– Peter Milne (Newport Resident IOW)
The article was posted on the 31st July 2009: By Skibare, Wind4Me.com
Vestas Closes British Wind Farm, Expands To Colorado
The USA and Vestas are betting that American wind farms are actually going to spend money vs talking about how we need more green energy. The investment by VESTAS in the USA is massive as four big gigantic plants are being built in Colorado. The ability to locate plants within shipping distance of all new major markets in the United States allows Vestas to cut prices if we spends money on wind power down the road. The United Kingdom was slow to spend and Vestas said ”’goodbye” to its plant there.
Colorado plants are right beside massive rail lines up and down the Rocky Mountain region from Texas to Canada. The wind blows off the Rocky Mountains and from Wyoming, South Dakota, and all of the areas in between, the plains are set to expand into green energy.
Minnesota and Iowa have figured this out, why is the rest of USA so slow in moving to wind? The answer to this problem is transmission lines, there are no major population centres in Wyoming or South Dakota even though the plains are perfect for wind power. Thus, the government of USA MUST start building transmission lines to the populated centres or we are going to choke ourselves to death with dirty coal. The process is simple, spend STIMULUS MONEY on TRANSMISSION LINES!!!!!
Twisting in the Wind
There can be few more embarrassing things for an environment minister than having a large wind equipment factory closure, with the loss of hundreds of jobs, announced at the same time that you are unveiling an expensive program to boost wind farm development.
This has been the fate in the past month of the British Secretary of State for Climate Change and Energy, Ed Milliband. While he was announcing that the Brown Government would drop a billion pounds into the laps of wind developers in an attempt to speed up the sector’s investment, big Danish manufacturer Vestas was saying it would shut its factory on the Isle of Wight.
Vestas will move its operation to Colorado because the U.S. market is much bigger and more vibrant – and will go head to head with General Electric and Mitsubishi to take advantage of Barack Obama’s program to subsidize wind farms as well as state-based utility clean energy mandates. North America has some of the best wind resources near large loads in the world.
Despite the Vestas blow, the British government hopes to see 190 wind farms developed across the country in the next three years, but they come at a price.
Apart from Milliband’s largess, his colleague and industry minister, Lord Mandelson, is shelling out £150 million in grants to high-tech wind equipment manufacturers to sustain 2,400 jobs in the economic slump.
Britain is not the only country where the renewable energy industry is finding the going rather rougher than anticipated in a world seemingly fixated on decarbonisation.
The Chinese drive for wind power capacity – which has seen the level of plants constructed rise from 6,000 MW in 2007 to 12,800 MW last year, making it the world’s fourth-largest market – has hit speed bumps in the form of insufficient wind resources, tariffs that are too low and, most importantly, the inability of the delivery system to maintain the pace.
The state-run China Wind Association complains that one in five existing wind farms are non-operational because they have not yet been connected to a grid. The Ministry of Environmental Protection concedes that “many” Chinese farms are having operational difficulties because of “inappropriate geographical locations.”
There are more mundane issues, too. The large increase in wind development in the U.S. has created headaches for transportation companies and local authorities as trucks carrying turbine blades half as long as a football field struggle to make their way from factories to wind farms over local roads. These are not minor glitches. The American wind industry calculates that transportation bills add 10 to 25 per cent to construction costs.
One problem that has resonance for proposed Australian development is the dispatch management hassles being encountered on the U.S. north-west coast as wind development grows.
Wind, as pointed out in a recent Quadrant commentary bagging renewable energy, quoting the Apostle John, “bloweth where it listeth.”
The federal Bonneville Power Administration complains that its transmission system, which is a critical power supply factor north of California, has had to deal with surges in wind capacity of 1,000 MW in under an hour. Wind generation in the BPA region has jumped from 25 MW a decade ago to more than 2,000 MW this year, doubling in the past 21 months and the agency anticipates dealing with 6,000 MW by 2013.
Large capital investments in back-up power and transmission developments loom for BPA, which dispatches electricity over an area equal to our southern states and with similar capacity to the NEM.
Back here, once the “low-hanging fruit” of wind farms near grids has been pursued, up to $5 billion will need to be spent on building transmission links to remote areas (and not just for wind projects). The impact of relatively large variable supply in South Australia and Victoria on eastern seaboard wholesale system will need to be managed carefully, and the cost of supporting it (including an estimated $6 billion in back-up peaking gas plant) will feed in to end-user prices.
Perhaps the Senate can persuade Penny Wong to quantify all this when it debates the RET as well as the ETS next month.