August 7, 2009
By Paul Gipe
The World Wind Energy Association’s “Wind Energy International 2009/2010” landed on my desk with a reassuring thump. I picked it up simply to move it somewhere else until I could get time to thumb through it. Solid, serious heft –the book weighs in at more than two pounds (~1 kilo). It reminded me of the solid feel you get when you close a door on a Mercedes or BMW: The feeling of quality, the knowledge that there are still people who take their jobs seriously and do it right.
This is a book that was done right. It was written by the right people for the right reasons and printed on quality paper in full color.
The World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) is located in Bonn and the book was printed in, yes, you guessed it Germany, though the authors are as international as the title suggests.
The authors are all pros in their fields, many of them colleagues I’ve known for decades. They are not the typical corporate flacks that have come to dominate other trade associations. They are men and women who have dedicated their lives to developing wind energy because of what it means to the people of their countries and the world.
Disclosure: Paul Gipe was named to the board of directors of the World Wind Energy Association in 2008. WWEA also presented Gipe, along with his longtime Danish colleagues Preben Maegaard and Jane Kruse, the World Wind Energy Award in 2008.
The greats of wind energy are all here, many are often unknown to greater Anglophone audiences. These include authorities such as Arturo Kunstmann in Chile, Everaldo Feitosa in Brazil, Heinz Dahl in Australia, Frede Hvelplund in Denmark, Josep Puig in Spain, David Milborrow in Great Britain, and many others too numerous to mention in a review (see the table of contents for all those who participated).
This is the latest edition of what has become the standard yearbook on wind energy development worldwide. Wind Energy International includes individual article on wind energy in 100 different countries plus features on policies, trends in the industry, financing, and much more. It is simply too much to list.
If you want to know the status of wind energy development worldwide and you only can afford one book, this is the one. As valuable and useful as the statistics are alone, an equally important contribution is the contact details for the authors of each individual country report as well as authors of the technical articles. These alone are worth their weight in gold for those wanting a quick introduction to who’s who in wind energy.
Here are some of the topics in Wind Energy International that caught my eye.
Offshore Wind Projects
Wind Service Holland’s Jaap Langenbach offers a detailed status report on offshore wind development, including the number of turbines, model, capacity, depth, and when the project went online.
WEI offers a condensed version of Rudolf Rechsteiner’s thorough analysis of wind energy’s growth and it’s potential role in the world’s energy mix. Rechsteiner, a member of the Swiss parliament, gives a good overview of where we are and where we need to go to meet the twin crises of peak oil and climate change.
Individual country reports make up the bulk of the book. There’s a fact sheet on wind energy in countries that span the globe, from the major wind power centers in Europe, China, and India to a long list of countries that most readers may not even have heard of such as Namibia.
Renewable Policy Mechanisms
This section includes a good introduction to feed-in tariffs by those who literally wrote the books on it, the World Future Council’s Miguel Mendonça for one, and Aalborg University’s Frede Hvelplund for another. Kai Schlegelmilch gives a good overview of Germany’s system of tariffs or payments for wind energy for the country’s Ministry of the Environment.
WEI even includes a few articles on small wind turbines, something often overlooked when others cover the global wind energy market. For those who follow the small turbie industry know that ISET (Institut fur Solare Energieversorgunstechnik) in Kassel has been working in this field for many years. ISET at one time even collected performance data on small turbines, something unheard of elsewhere until recently. ISET’s Paul Kühn presents some intriguing data on power rating claims of small turbine manufacturers. It’s worth a look on its own. Several of the manufacturers claim power ratings greater than the Betz limit. This has been a problem plaguing the small turbine industry for decades.
Dardesheim–The Renewable Energy Village
That WWEA includes an article by Heinrich Bartelet, the man behind Dardesheim’s successful development of not only wind energy but also solar and biogas, shows how the trade association differs from others. The World Wind Energy Association supports community wind development alongside more conventional forms of commercial development, unlike some other wind energy associations. Dardesheim’s 1,000 inhabitants in the former East Germany produces more electricity than they consume. What is different about Dardesheim is that the residents take part in the wind, solar, and biogas projects that are part of their community. It’s a success story that needs to be told and retold around the world to give everyone, rich and poor alike, the hope that they too can participate in the renewable energy revolution.
Wind Energy International 2009/2010, World Wind Energy Association, 6 x 9, paper, 426 pages, ISBN: 978-3-940683-01-4, Charles-de-Gaulle-Str. 5, Bonn, D-53113 Germany, email@example.com, www.wwindea.org, 49 228 369 40 80, non-members: €95, WWEA members: €65.