Wind Energy Weekly #689, Vol 15, 18 March 1996


The following is the electronic edition of WIND ENERGY WEEKLY, Vol. 15, #689, 18 March 1996, published by the American Wind Energy Association. The full text of the WEEKLY is available in hardcopy form for $595/year and is recommended for those with a serious commercial interest in wind (the electronic edition contains only excerpts). A monthly hardcopy publication, the WINDLETTER, more suitable for those interested in residential wind systems is included with a $50/year individual membership in the Association. AWEA's goal is to promote wind energy as a clean and environmentally superior source of electricity. Anyone sharing this goal is invited to become a member. For more information on the Association, contact AWEA, 122 C Street, NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20001, USA, phone (202) 383-2500, fax (202) 383-2505, email Or visit our World Wide Web site at


The electronic edition of Wind Energy Weekly will not be published during the next two weeks due to Windpower '96 and vacation. We will return to publication during the week of July 8.



Book says climate change will hurt financial world


Canadian tax policies could level field for renewables


NREL program to yield next generation of turbines


The financial community, business leaders, and environmentalists have a common stake in studying and responding to the impacts of global climate change, the environmental group Greenpeace said March 7 in announcing the publication of a new book on the subject, CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE FINANCIAL SECTOR: THE EMERGING THREAT, THE SOLAR SOLUTION.

Greenpeace, better known for its confrontational demonstrations and media events, has opted in the case of climate change for a long-running dialogue over the past few years with leaders of the insurance industry and other investment groups, and the book is a part of that activity.

Edited by Greenpeace's Dr. Jeremy Leggett and published by Gerling Group, one of Germany's premier insurance concerns, CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE FINANCIAL SECTOR, Greenpeace said in a news release, "shows clearly--from the standpoint of financial insiders--that climate change caused by overconsumption of fossil fuels threatens the stability of the world's financial institutions." The book goes on to prescribe clean, renewable energy sources like solar and wind as the means of achieving future prosperity and stability.

Among the book's contributors is Robert Kelly, Co-Chairman of U.S.-based solar photovoltaics manufacturer Amoco/Enron Solar. "I believe there is a significant global market for solar power. . . As the efforts of the world to deal with sustainability increase, solar power will make a larger and larger contribution, taking the world through the fourth millennium," Kelly said.

The independent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a large United Nations-sponsored group of experts investigating the issue, has stated that if fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissions continue at anywhere near current levels, the planet will warm up dangerously, and could well experience a devastating increase in the frequency and intensity of so-called natural disasters. At a news conference in New York, Leggett, Director of Greenpeace International's Solar Initiative, said financial industries are waking up to this threat.

"Believing that a healthy environment and strong economy go hand in hand, Greenpeace has forged links with major insurance and reinsurance companies, banks and investment firms throughout the world," Leggett said. "We recognize our shared interests and are calling on governments to take stronger measures now to cut the release of C02 into the atmosphere."

Another contributor, Greenpeace said, may have summed up the issue best. Carlos Joly, a senior vice president at UNI Storebrand of Norway, wrote, "What does it do us to cash in investments twenty years from now if the world goes to hell partly as a result of what we invest in?"

One of the central obstacles to taking action on climate change, Joly noted at the news conference, is that there are not yet established markets that can absorb the type of large financial investments that the insurance community would be in a position to make. UNI Storebrand, he said, plans to roll out an "environmental value" fund in May that will invest in companies based on environmental criteria. Commented Joly, "It's not enough to give a good return--we have to take responsibility for taking care of some of the quality-of-life conditions our pension fund holders will be living in [in the future.]"

Other contributors to CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE FINANCIAL SECTOR include representatives of the Reinsurance Association of America, Gerling Group, General Accident (UK), Union Bank of Switzerland and National Westminster Bank (UK and US).

Timothy Wirth, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs says, "CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE FINANCIAL SECTOR [is] . . . an important step forward . . . [that] needs to be considered by the financial community everywhere--especially in the United States."


The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) hailed the proposed budget of Finance Minister Paul Martin March 7, saying it "respond[s] favorably to requests by the renewable energy and independent power sectors that the tax treatment of renewable energy be put on an equal footing with the oil and gas sector."

The proposed budget would make it possible for businesses to write off the cost of installing renewable energy systems, and also to deduct the cost of related intangible expenses such as feasibility studies.

"The government, through this budget, has made great strides toward rectifying major impediments to the development of competitive sources of renewable energy," says Fred Gallagher, a member of the stakeholder task force that requested the changes.

"Officials in the department of finance and their colleagues at NRCan [Natural Resources Canada] are to be congratulated for responding to industry requests that the tax playing field in the energy sector be levelized," said CanWEA President Jeff Passmore in a news release. "The fact that Ministers Martin and McLellan and their departments have recognized the importance of renewable energy and efficiency, and have specifically singled us out in this budget, not only as a significant contributor to energy supply, but as a means of reducing CO2 emissions, is a huge step forward for Canada. Now we can get on with creating the jobs and the economic wealth that previously this sector has had to leave undeveloped."

Specifically, the budget proposes to:

"Finance has opened the door and it will be interesting to see how the market reacts," Passmore said. "Manufacturing and processing businesses will need to develop an investment interest in something beyond their main line of business.

"We look forward to working with the Department of Finance and NRCan officials to define which expenditures will be eligible under CRCE. Obviously we will be looking to achieve comparable treatment to other exploration and development expenses allowable within the energy sector."

For further information, contact the Canadian Wind Energy Association National Office, 100, 3553 - 31 Street NW, Calgary, Alberta, CANADA T2L 2K7, phone 800-9-CANWEA or (403) 289-7713 outside Canada, e-mail


The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released some details on the wind turbine designs for which awards have been issued under its Next Generation Turbine Development (NGTD) Project, and on the innovative ideas the contractors propose to incorporate.

More than a dozen companies were selected to develop preliminary designs in the NGTD program. Of those, three--Zond Systems, of Tehachapi, Calif., The Wind Turbine Company, of Bellevue, Wash., and Kenetech Windpower, of Livermore, Calif.-- have been awarded cost-shared funding to fabricate turbines. The objective of the NGTD program is to lead to wind systems that can produce electricity for 4 cents/kWh or less at a site with an average wind speed of 13 mph (5.8 m/s) by the 1998-2000 time frame.

The Zond Systems Z-56 is an upwind, variable-speed, variable-pitch turbine with a rotor diameter of 56 meters rated at an output of 1.078 MW. According to an NREL information sheet, "it employs the same general architecture as Zond's Z-40PS turbine and achieves a lower cost of energy as a result of its innovative features and economies of scale." Current plans call for the machine to use the following advances: NREL-designed airfoils; a variable-speed, doubly-fed generator; and a distributed-intelligence controller.

The Wind Turbine Company's WTC-1000, also a 1-MW unit, would have a rotor diameter of 54.3 meters (current design data for all machines are subject to change). The WTC-1000 is a downwind turbine that "incorporates variable coning to attenuate loads" and a drive train that employs multiple generators, NREL said. In addition to variable coning, the turbine's innovations include a 100-meter tower with internal lift and resin-transfer-molded blades.

The Kenetech KVS-50 is an upwind, variable speed, variable- pitch, direct-drive turbine rated at 650 kW capacity. Like the Zond unit, it would be similar in architecture to the company's smaller existing variable-speed machines, the KVS-33 and KVS-45. Besides direct drive, the unit will include individual blade pitch control and adaptive control algorithms.

In the second phase of the NGTD program, Prototype Development, which is proceeding now, each company will design, fabricate and test a proof-of-concept turbine to demonstrate new components and subsystems, confirm aerodynamic performance, and validate computer models. Test results will be used by engineers to develop design improvements for engineering prototype turbines to be built by each company.

For further information, contact Paul Migliore, NREL, 1617 Cole Boulevard, Golden, CO 80401, USA.

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