To produce facts regarding the status and development of European wind energy technology. The data and the obtained results from this data shall be representative of the European Community.
The evaluations of 1990 and 1991 show that in particular Spain is forcing its activities toward a leading position within the European wind community. Excellent wind conditions together with proven technology pushed 1 Spanish machine and 5 Belgian machines to the top 20 in the year 1990. In the year 1991 3 Spainsh machines, 1 Dutch wind park and 1 Belgian machine reached the top 20 by a total of about 4100 registered units. The average power of newly installed machines in 1991 was nearly 240 kW which means that medium sized machines between 200 kW to 500 kW nominal power now dominate the newly installed capacity of wind turbines in Europe. The cumulative wind energy generation in EUROWIN since 1986 to 1991 totals example nearly equal to the energy generation for 1 month of a nuclear power plant with 1000 MW nominal power. As regards the mean specific energy form all evaluated machines 1991 was a less good wind year than 1990. In comparison the newly connected machines in 1991 achieved better results than those in 1990.
The overall reported data of approximately 1900 WECs and 200 MW installed capacity (status December 1989) ensures a good basis for statistical evaluations. Since 1986 a continuous increase of installed capacity of tending toward bigger and more powerful machines, is observed. The optimization and improvement of system efficiency between the rotor blades and grid connection or battery storage system is the object of any investigation about electricity generating WECs. A statistical evaluation of operating WECs identifies important parameters and quantifies general trends and developments. Overall the contribution of wind energy to the public energy supply can be evaluated.
The most important points regarding WECs evaluation within this project are:
a) General Survey of European Wind Energy Technology
- development of installed capacity and connected WECs
b) Design Parameters and Characteristics
- design wind speeds
- power curves
- components weights
- section profiles
- trends in WEC characteristics
c) Operational Data
- energy generation
- capacity factor
- operational time, down time
- failure analysis
- energy pay-back
The evaluation of operational data over 4 years gives information about the typical wind characteristics in each year and indicates a steady improvement in wind energy technology.
Costs of WECs, obtained by the manufacturers and linked to the operational data of WECs, give indications about the economics of wind energy use. In spite of a wide scatter between individual WECs, mean generation costs near 0,05 ECU/kWh for the best machines with advanced technology and located at good sites, are possible. These generation costs make wind energy use competitive with conventional energy generation. A failure analysis of 8 main WECs-components show the weak points where further R&D is necessary. The energy pay-back of WECs is very short in comparison to the life time expectancy and can be quantified by the ratio of hidden energy, caused by manufacturing, to displaced fossil primary energy by energy generation.