English - Nooteboom Giants on the Road Magazine English - Nr. 6 - 2019 | Page 37

THEME THE PROOF IS IN THE PRICE Up till now the switch to clean energy has been strongly influenced by political decisions. A coal-fired power station supplies power that costs less than € 0.05 per kWh. However on the bill you get at home it says € 0.20 or more. Most of this difference goes to the government in the form of taxes. In recent years the government has given the construction of wind turbines a boost by subsidising them. It is even suggested that windmills are not viable without subsidy. This is only partly true, because the tax revenue from wind energy is lower than the tax revenue from using a polluting coal-fired power station but if you add the costs of the pollution, wind energy is much cheaper. Politics have had a big influence on the development of the wind industry. This influence will disappear, because the sector has grown up and can produce enough cheap energy to compete with the fossil-fuel based energy production. The first tenders with a cost price per kWh of less than € 0.05 are already a reality and the cost of wind energy keeps coming down. NEW TECHNIQUES The technical developments at the producers of windmills have moved forward significantly over the last few years and there is plenty more to come. An important development is the switch from generators with a gear box to ‘direct-drive’, where the generator turns at the same speed as the rotor blades. The advantages of the direct-drive: fewer moving parts, better cooling, higher output and lower noise production. Divisible generators should make the installation and maintenance simpler. Another development, which will have a big influence on the construction and transport is the ability to produce higher power levels. Until recently no manufacturer managed to cross the 10 MW barrier. GE is the first to introduce a 12 MW offshore wind turbine and reports about a 15 MW version have already appeared in the press. One ■  ■  Water basin around the tower for storage of energy single windmill of this size will produce power for 12,000 to 15,000 people! The construction of even bigger and taller windmills is now still limited by the size of the components and the capacity of existing crawler cranes. In various places they are working on the development of climbing cranes, which makes it possible to build higher towers. Divisible components, such as rotor blades and generators will make the transport and installation easier. The specialized trailers from Nooteboom for the wind industry are used worldwide 37