The cost of onshore wind power has fallen dramatically over the last decade, reaching grid parity in some parts of the world such as Brazil. Even in parts of northern Europe, such as the UK, the cost of wind power is in some cases on a par with coal and gas fired power plants. However, there is still plenty of scope to reduce costs even further through improvements in turbine technology, installation and deployment as well as operation and maintenance.
Alstom is essentially working in two areas to lower the cost of wind power: firstly by improving energy production; and secondly, by reducing overall project costs.
The production of a wind turbine is directly related to the swept area covered by the blades and the size of the generator. Over the years, Alstom has been lowering the cost of energy by gradually increasing the energy yield and production of its wind turbines through the evolution of the machines in its ECO Platform. Rotor size has been increased to achieve higher production and enable machines to make better use of available wind resources for improved capacity factors.
Article published in: FuturENERGY January-February 2015