Wind energy

Wind power is the fastest growing renewable energy technology worldwide. Since the beginning of the 1980′s the industry has grown from small scale local enterprises to large corporations with a total annual turnover of 100 billion krones (2005).

Wind is air mass in motion, or energy. A wind turbine is extracting some of this energy to electricity. A wind turbine consists of a tower, blades and a house with generator, shaft, gear and control system. The wind sets the blades in motion after the same principles that give a lift to the wing of a plane. Energy is transferred from the turbine, through the shaft and to the generator placed inside the house. The generator transforms motional energy to electrical energy. A wind turbine is capable of transforming 50 percent of the motional energy that passes the blades to electricity.

Hundhammarfjellet wind power plant

The gear is causing a lot of the running costs of a wind turbine. Several companies, among the Norwegian company ScanWind, has therefore developed gearless wind turbines with permanent magnet generators. Some of the wind turbines from ScanWind are installed at the Hundhammarfjellet wind park in Norway.

Wind power in Europe
From 1992 to 2005, the global installed wind capacity increased from 2 500 MW to 59 200 MW. This corresponds to a yearly increase of 30 percent. More than 75 percent of the new wind capacity is installed in Europe.

Even though it is Northern Europe who is in position of the best wind conditions, most of the new wind power is installed in Germany and Spain, as a result of subsidies. 20 percent of the electricity share in Denmark is now from wind energy, while the share in Germany and Spain is around 5 percent.

In 2008 it was installed more wind power than any other energy source in Europe. A total of 43 percent of new installed electric capacity came from wind power, more than coal and gas power. With over 105 TWh produced in 2007, wind power is becoming one of the large energy sources in Europe. The European wind organization EWEA, is continuously adjusting their estimates for future growth, because the wind power is growing faster than estimated.

Offshore wind energy in Europe is growing fast. The capacity will grow from 577 MW in 2009 to 1000 MW within 2010. Over 100 GW of offshore wind power is currently being planned by European utilities, developers, and governments, mostly in the North Sea. Once operational this 100 GW plus would supply 10% of Europe’s electricity.

Wind power in Norway
Norway has a lot of potential with respect to wind power and this can be used in the production of electricity. By the end of 2009, there was installed 420 MW of wind power in Norway, producing slitghly more than 1 TWh a year, or slightly less of 1 percent of the total electricity production in Norway.

The official target for Norway is a production of 3 TWh annually by 2010, which can be achieved by the installation of approximately 1000MW of wind power capacity. The potential for wind power in Norway is however much greater than this and totally there is applied for 66 TWh with wind power in Norway.

Substructures for offshore wind turbines on its way from Aker Verdal in Norway to Alpha Ventus in Germany. Photo: Aker Solutions

Norwegian industry has the possibility to participate in the development of wind power both as subcontractors and wind turbine manufacturers. Aker Verdal has already used this possiblity and delivered substuctures for the German offshore wind park, Alpha Ventus.

With its long history and tradition within the offshore industry, Norway has a great focus on developing offshore wind turbines. Especially floating wind turbines is an area where Norway has a lot of activities. Floating turbines can be installed far from the coast where the good conditions are good and the visual pollution is avoided. In autumn 2009, the first full-scale floating wind turbine Hywind was installed outside the coast of Norway. There are also other Norwegian concepts for floating wind turbines on the drawing table, like Sway and WindSea.

Hywind - offshore wind power in Norway

The worlds first full-scale floating wind turbine is being installed at the coast of Norway, autumn 2009. Photo:Øyvind Hagen/StatoilHydro

Research activities at SINTEF, NTNU and IFE
SINTEF, NTNU and IFE (Institute for Energy Technology) cooperate on wind power research and development. This cooperation ensures the necessary expertise within the appropriate specialist fields in addition to a coordinated research and development effort.

More than 100 researchers and Phd-candidates are working with wind power at NTNU, SINTEF and IFE. SINTEF is leading the CMR-centre NOWITECH.

More information
Norwegian Research Centre for Offshore Wind Technology (NOWITECH)
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA)
Wind Energy R&D at SINTEF Energy Research
NTNU Wind Power Electro technical laboratory
NVE (Information in English & Norwegian)
The Norwegian Teststation for Windturbines

Researcher John Olav Tande, +47 91 36 81 88 (SINTEF Energy Research)
Researcher Martin Kirkengen, +47 63 80 61 07 (IFE)
Associate professor Michael Muskulus, +47 73 59 31 13 (NTNU)
Associate professor Trond Kvamsdal, +47 73 59 29 72 (NTNU)
Professor Tore Undeland, +47 73 59 42 44 (NTNU)