No. 5 / October 2018 65570 www.newenergy.info magazine for climate action and renewable energy Climate action vs. wildlife conservation An unnecessary conﬂict PPAs A lifeline for ageing wind farms Smart sensors and ﬂoating foundations Developments in turbine technology
is now available as an e-paper No. 5 / October 2018 65570 No. 5 / October 2018 65570 www.newenergy.info magazine for climate action and renewable energy magazine for climate action and renewabl Climate action vs. Climate action wildlife conservation wildlife conserv An unnecessary conﬂict An unnecessary conﬂict PPAs PPAs A lifeline for A lifeline for ageing wind farms ageing wind farms Smart sensors and Smart sensors and ﬂoating foundations ﬂoating foundations Developments in Developments in turbine technology turbine technology a free trial of the Enjoy e-paper at www.newenergy.info Read all about the switch to renewables on your tablet, smartphone or laptop. Subscribe online at www.newenergy.info/subscriptions
Wind power is not the enemy In its latest special report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change insists on the need to keep global warming below 1.5C. This will require ambitious climate targets and a rapid expansion of renewable energy (page 10). Meanwhile, wind farms are time and again blamed for countless bird deaths. It is an emotionally charged issue that attracts huge media attention, which naturally plays into the hands of the opponents of wind power. In numerous European countries, wildlife protection has become one of the primary reasons for the rejection of planned wind farms – even though clean energy is among the most important ways of slowing anthropogenic global warming. This controversy is the focus of our current cover story (page 22). The situation is simple enough. Once a permit has been issued, approval authori- ties would rather not have to deal with the case a second time. If approval is granted for a wind farm that is the object of local protests, there is a high probability that the decision will be challenged in the courts. Wildlife conservation in particular offers a variety of ways to thwart wind projects. Ultimately, this is due to a lack of scientiﬁc research and clear legal provisions. There are no objective criteria by which to determine whether a new wind farm rep- resents a signiﬁcantly increased risk for protected species, causing considerable un- certainty within authorities. Particularly in Germany, the result is that project devel- opers are required to carry out increasingly expensive and time-consuming impact assessments, with no assurance whatsoever as to whether the project will ultimately be approved. At the heart of the matter is the question of whether turbines pose a heightened risk of collision to individual animals, and whether that risk justiﬁes refusing per- mission for a wind farm to be built. If an entire species were under threat, then a refusal might be defensible. But such a claim cannot be substantiated. There is broad disagreement among experts over the number of deaths turbines cause. According- ly, many decisions are based on blanket assumptions that are immune to legal chal- lenges because of the discretionary powers enjoyed by approval authorities. Jochen Flasbarth, state secretary in the German environment ministry, advises wind planners to secure local acceptance as early as possible – but is this enough to deter staunch opponents of wind energy? Wildlife protection is vital. But it must not be allowed to derail climate action, which in the long run is the most effective way of protecting endangered species. If global temperatures continue to rise, half of all animals and plants on Earth could face extinction. Accordingly, legislators must ensure that authorities and the wind in- dustry have clear and legally binding rules to work with. Only then will the system no longer be open to abuse. Meanwhile, the urgency of a redoubled commitment to climate action is high- lighted not least by appeals from the United Nations. In the wake of the prepara- tory conference for the forthcoming COP24 summit in Katowice, UN Secretary General António Guterres declared that “what we still lack – even after the Paris agreement – is leadership and the ambition to do what is needed” (page 13). If we remain on our current path, there will be every reason to fear for the survival of many of our planet’s species. Best wishes, Jörg-Rainer Zimmermann Editor-in-chief Editorial new energy 5/2018 3
22 Staring into the unknown: polar bears are one of countless species threatened by climate change. Elsewhere, wildlife protection is being used as a pretext to hinder wind power development. ENERGY POLITICS 15 | New life for old turbines 3 | Editorial 6 | Cooperation with EREF 8 | News: Hambach Forest clearance halted, As funding runs out for ageing wind farms, companies are looking to new business models to keep the blades turning. For many, power purchase agreements are a logical next step. Merkel rejects climate target, EU moves forward on transport emissions, German parties compromise on air pollution, IPPC special report, solar tariffs lifted. 11 | Securing the rights of climate refugees As the effects of global warming intensify throughout the world, an advisory body in Germany is proposing climate passports to ensure those displaced by climate change can seek a new home safely and with dignity. 12 | The road to Katowice Two months before COP24, a preparatory summit in Bangkok has made some progress on the roadmap for implementation of the Paris agreement – but much remains to be done. COUNTRY MARKETS 14 | News: Study proposes pathways for coal phase-out, Germans surveyed on renewables surcharge, Belgium faces power shortages. 4 new energy 5/2018 BUSINESS 17 | News: Clean power pledges on the up, study predicts peak fossil, price hike for carbon emissions. 18 | Wake-up call Times are hard for the German wind industry, and most in the sector blame their troubles largely on government policy. The country’s wind-rich north is calling on Berlin to take urgent action to save the energy transition’s ﬂagship industry. TECHNOLOGIES 20 | News: Renewables could bring rain to the Sahara, breakthrough in artiﬁcial photosynthesis, ﬂight record for solar-powered drone. f i a l / n n a m h c i e T s a e r d n A , a h c o l l a W n a h p e t S / C M H , F W W / t t e r r a B d r a h c i R : s o t o h P , s r e t u e R / r a m u K n a w a P : r e v o C
Contents 36 42 Winds of change: the recent WindEnergy trade fair in Hamburg showcased some of the sector’s latest technological developments. Roda Verheyen: the lawyer taking the EU to court over climate change. ELECTROMOBILITY 21 | The eHighway is coming Could electric trucks powered by overhead lines revolutionise freight transport? A new study examines the technology’s environmental and economic beneﬁts. COVER STORY ENERGY PEOPLE 41 | News: Achim Berge Olsen, Andreas Höllinger, Karsten Schlageter, Joachim Nitsch, Uwe Leprich, Yves Rannou, Jürgen Geißinger, Dhaval Vakil, Immo von Fallois, Holger Hanselka, Philipp Schröder, Michael Jesberger, Rainer Joswig, Jakob Edler. 22 | Climate action is wildlife protection 42 | Climate change lawyer Wind power developments are increasingly being hindered by concerns over the safety of birds and bats in a debate where objectivity often falls by the wayside. But holding back the energy transition opens the door to climate change – ultimately a much greater threat to wildlife. Roda Verheyen is taking legal action against energy company RWE and the EU. 45 | Tired of lying The reasons behind the shock resignation of French environment minister Nicolas Hulot. 30 | Eye in the sky In a bid to overcome the regulatory hurdles faced by wind farm developers, a variety of technologies are being developed to minimise the threat turbines pose to wildlife, ranging from automatic recognition to virtual perimeters. WIND 36 | Lighter, stronger, faster A look at the technological developments ushering in the wind turbines of the future. Service 40 | Events 40 | Addresses 46 | Company directory 47 | luftpost newsletter Cooperation with Deutsche Windtechnik new energy 5/2018 5
Pizzly-bear: as Arctic melt intensiﬁes, the geographical barrier that separates polar bears and grizzlies is shrinking. As a result, mating between the two species is increasingly common – resulting in cream-coloured hybrids known as pizzly bears. As there are only some 25,000 polar bears left in existence, compared to at least half a million brown bears, interbreeding will only accelerate the extinction of polar bears, whose habitat is already under grave threat from climate change.
TECHNOLOGIES _Cover story Climate action is wildlife conservation Countless thousands of animal and plant species are under threat from global warming. To avoid conﬂicts between environmentalists, authorities and the renewables industry, legislators must take urgent action. By Jörg-Rainer Zimmermann I t is all about emotions, about politics on a greater or lesser scale – while the issue at hand is often relegated to the sidelines. “Wild- life conservation can be instrumentalised by anyone,” explains Jochen Flasbarth, state sec- retary in Germany’s federal environment min- istry. Flasbarth previously spent a number of years at the helm of German environmental body Nabu – but this does not mean he en- dorsed every argument considered by the or- ganisation. Rather, he is a staunch advocate of objectivity. This is crucial. Wildlife conservation must be about much more than emotions or poli- tics. Ultimately, it is our home, our very exis- tence, that is at stake. Up to 50 percent of all animal and plant species in the world’s most diverse regions face extinction if global warm- ing is not reigned in. Researchers at the University of East An- glia recently examined the impact of climate change on almost 80,000 animal and plant species in 35 regions of the world in a study commissioned by the WWF*. The report, “Wildlife in a Warming World”, concludes that dramatic changes will be apparent even at our latitudes. Researchers have been sounding the alarm for some time, warning that many native bird species, or the common frog, will cease to exist if temperatures keep on rising. F W W / a z i l o P l e a h c i M : o t o h P And environmental NGOs are not the only ones worried: in Brussels, the European En- vironment Agency is warning of extinctions, while in Germany the Federal Environment Agency and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) are doing the same. The main reasons cited are the impact of insect deaths on food chains, fragmentation of land- scapes by road construction – and, not least, climate change. The BfN has spent a long time assessing the sensitivity of protected spe- cies in Germany to climate change, conclud- ing that most of them are at medium to high risk from warming. It is not too late to act. The formula is sim-ple enough: a commitment to climate action is the most effective form of wildlife conser-vation. However, political response to the ap-peals is feeble at best, and important legisla-tive revisions are taking far too long – both for the transformation of the energy system, and the protection of animals and conﬂicts plants. The between companies, public authorities and en-vironmentalists, (...) both result: renewable recurring energy real and self-proclaimed. This is an abridged version of the article – the full text is available in new energy issue 5/2018. *A few examples of species under threat from climate change are illustrated by the images accompanying this cover story. new energy 5/2018 23
High and dry: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change anticipates increasingly frequent and longer-lasting droughts in the the savannas, tropical rainforests and semi-arid regions to the south of the Sahara Desert that make up the habitat of the African elephant. This is a life-threatening development for the planet‘s largest land mammal, which needs huge amounts of fresh water to survive.
Research assistant: this golden eagle is part of a trial programme by the US Depart- ment of Energy. Equipped with a GPS transmitter, its job is to supply researchers with data on the birds‘ typical ﬂight paths. Turbines with a bird’s eye view The threat posed to birds and bats by wind turbines is a hotly disputed issue. Modern technology can be part of the solution. By Michael Hahn A red kite soars across the sky in search of prey: the chicks back in the nest are hungry. Unaware that it is headed straight for the spinning blades of a wind turbine that can reach speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour at the tips, the kite ﬂies on – and suddenly, the blades stop turning. An intelligent camera sys- tem in the turbine tower has recognised the bird, and taken action to protect it. Modern technology can do a great deal to minimise the number of animals harmed by wind turbines. Systems to protect bats are al- ready in widespread use, and are recognised by official bodies. However, when it comes to protecting birds, there are still a number of obstacles to overcome. The camera system described above was de- veloped by the Hohenlohe community wind farm in the German state of Baden-Württem- berg. According to the farm’s operators, the in- novative set-up uses cutting-edge image pro- cessing technology able to automatically detect the species of birds approaching the turbines. To make this possible, some 200,000 im- ages of red kites and common buzzards were classiﬁed in a database using tagging software. An array of cameras attached to the turbine tower scans the surrounding area in every di-rection. (...) This is an abridged version of the article – the full text is available in new energy issue 5/2018. 30 new energy 5/2018
TECHNOLOGIES _Wind power Smarter, more efﬁcient, more reliable Researchers and engineers are hard at work optimising wind turbines. New blade materials are being explored, while sensors and digital modelling are ushering in a new era for turbine control systems. In the offshore segment, developers are increasingly turning to ﬂoating foundations. By Jan Oliver Löfken D riven by falling prices and shrinking remuneration rates, the cost pressure on turbine manufacturers is growing. The rise of multi-megawatt giants at sea has created a need for lighter materials that are nevertheless extremely robust. On land, turbines are increasingly switched off when electricity prices are low – which is often the case on sunny days when a stiff breeze is blowing. Instead, there is a trend towards tur- bines with larger rotors able to generate more power at low wind speeds, thereby beneﬁting from the higher prices associ- ated with reduced supply. New materials, ingenious sensor sys- tems and smarter turbine controls able to leverage big data are bringing these goals within reach. Light, yet rigid and tough: as rotor blades reach lengths of 85 metres and more, conventional ﬁbreglass materials could soon become obsolete. In the research project “Lenah”, the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems (Iwes) in Bremerhaven, Germany, is cooperating with the German Aero- space Centre (DLR) and the ForWind research centre to de- termine whether metal oxide nanoparticles can be used to en- hance the physical properties of synthetic resins. Hybrid lami- nates – compound materials made up of long layers of various materials such as glass fibres, carbon fibres or metal foils – could further increase the rigidity of rotor blades. In an even more innovative approach, researchers at the Uni- versity of Maryland in College Park are experimenting with ways to modify wood. Laboratory tests have already shown that basswood, oak, pine and cedar can be made as tough as steel, at just one sixth of its weight. This is achieved simply by remov- ing some of the lignin and cellulose in the wood by chemical means, and then compressing it. “It’s comparable to carbon ﬁ- bre, but much less expensive,” says lead developer Liangbing Hu. An additional advantage of wood-based materials is that they can be recycled or disposed of more easily and with a low- er environmental impact at the end of the turbine’s useful life. “However, new materials have a long road ahead of them before they can be used in production,” points out Iwes re- searcher Florian Sayer. Small improvements are of no use if they mean higher costs; materials must offer substantial ben- eﬁts in order to be worth adopting. Until that happens, the primary focus of development will be on optimising ﬁbreglass and, increasingly, carbon ﬁbre reinforced polymers. “Conven- tional materials still have a great deal to offer,” says Iwes man- aging director Andreas Reuter, who believes there is plenty of potential for further progress in the glues used in rotor blades, optimised manufacturing processes involving inter- laying of individual layers, or new cores with improved ﬁbre orientation. 3D printed rotor blades In the race to make production faster, and above all, cheaper, manufacturers are increasingly exploring automation. A break- through that until recently might have been dismissed as sci- ence ﬁction is 3D printing of rotor blades. This year, Sandia Labs in Livermore, California, unveiled a 13-metre rotor blade 36 new energy 5/2018
prototype manufactured using a mould printed in just two weeks in collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Labora- tory and US blade manufacturer TPI Composites. Using this method, the total time from computer design to completion of the actual rotor blade was just three months, compared to a little over a year using conventional production workﬂows. Besides rigidity, a crucial aspect of rotor blade design is min- imising the material fatigue that can result from over 100 mil- lion load cycles over the course of a turbine’s operating life. The leading edge of a rotor blade is of particular interest to re- searchers due to the constant battering by wind, rain, frost and rapid airﬂows. To avoid the need for costly replacements every few years to maintain aerodynamic performance, developers are working on special lacquers, coatings and foils. The challenge is for the materials used on the blade’s leading edge to be suf- ﬁciently elastic to absorb some of the impact caused by rain- drops, and at the same time tough enough to prevent abrasive airborne particles from roughening the blade’s surface and im- pairing its aerodynamic properties. Meanwhile, innovative blade geometries are being devel- oped to reduce harmful loads on the blade root, which are par- ticularly problematic at large rotor diameters. One example is the “SmartBlades2” project, in which a crescent-shaped blade is being put through its paces on a giant test rig at Iwes in collaboration with the German Aerospace Centre to verify its load-bearing capacity and suitability for real-world use. Thanks to geometric bending-torsion coupling technology, instead of simply bending backwards in the wind the blade rotates on its own axis, automatically adapting its shape to wind conditions to reduce the windward surface area. Some 500 sensors in the “Smart Blade” measure the deformations occurring in the test rig with millimetre precision, capturing the blade’s structural dynamics in the course of elaborate vibration tests. If the new geometry proves its worth, manufacturers including GE, Nor- dex, Senvion, Suzlon Energy and Enercon, all of which are in- volved in the project, will beneﬁt from the results for the devel- opment of new turbines. Digital twins No matter how efﬁcient and low-maintenance the rotor, with- out the right generator – either in a direct drive or gearbox setup – it will not result in a modern wind turbine. The com- pany ZF in Wilhelmshaven – an industry leader in drive tech- nology for wind power with over 55,000 gearbox installations under its belt – has developed a modular approach to shorten maintenance times. Meanwhile, interest is growing in smart gearboxes equipped with sensors which, in addition to making turbines easier to control, also ﬂag up the need for repairs be- fore a fault occurs. At RWTH Aachen University’s recently established Center for Wind Power Drives (CWD), engineers are working on the entire turbine drive area. New bearings for offshore machines, improved test cycles for gearbox fatigue or the use of new sen- sor systems to control wind turbines are being tested in over a dozen projects. (...) This is an abridged version of the article – the full text is available in new energy issue 5/2018. TECHNOLOGIES _Wind power Dual progress: the high-temperature superconducting magnet used in the EcoSwing research project could make the drive- train of future multi-megawatt turbines considerably lighter (above). Meanwhile, 3D printing could substantially accelerate the rotor blade manufacturing process, as demonstrated by this prototype created at Sandia Labs in California (below). new energy 5/2018 37 y r o t a r o b a L l a n o i t a N h c i R k a O / r e m a r C y n a t t i r B i , r e e M n a J / s e w I r e f o h n u a r F : s o t o h P
Subscribe to the switch to renewables! No. 3 / June 2017 65570 www.newenergy.info magazine for climate action and renewable energy Subscribe online at www.newenergy.info/ subscriptions the oil crisis no cure for our fossil addiction? No. 1 / February 2017 65570 www.newenergy.info magazine for climate action and renewable energy EU Winter Package A missed opportunity? Irreversible momentum Obama on the energy transition No . 2 / Apr i l 2017 65570 www. ne w www. ne w w inf onff o nerg y. inf o in ener g y. e wener g y. magaz ine fo r c l ima te ac t ion and renewab le ene rgy Ser vice 2.0 Survey shows progress dododownnnn??? downnn downownwnownn ingg downwnwnwn ing ing ing ing is fa is fa is fa iiis fa iiiiiii ETS S ETSTSTSTSE STETE he EU he EU he EU he EU U he EE ling iling iling ilin Tradrad Trrad Trad Trad TTTTTT Why tWhy tWhy tWhy tWhWWWW g i tg i tg i tg i tg i tg Go inGo inGo ino inGo inGGGG TTuTTTuurkeyyyyy’’’’s cle s cle s cle s clel s ’’ Turke Turke Turke Turke la loa lolooa la la lonnnnenennnnnnnnn anan popopopoonn pon er dwer dwwwwwwwwwwww riveve rive German auction Ger Stunning debut Stun for community wind for c Ahead of the game Ah Rethinking turbine service Reth Reslicing the cake Upheaval in the energy markets e d . e e s e d n a . w w w