Use of Wind Energy – Future Development
The share of renewable energy sources in total energy consumption is to be increased to 20 % in 2020. To achieve this extremely ambitious target, the share of renewable energy sources in electricity generation in the European Union has to be increased to approximately 34 % by 2020. The continuing expansion of renewables in Europe and also in Germany will be characterised mainly by the use of wind energy. 20,301 wind turbines with a total capacity of 23,903 MW have been installed in Germany at the end of 2008. 40.2 TWh of wind electricity was generated during this year. At this time the installed capacity in Europe amounted to 65,946 MW and worldwide to 120,798 MW.
Maintenance of Wind Turbines
The most expensive components of a wind turbine, beside tower and blades, are gearbox and bearings requiring about 13 % of the total costs. The average lifetime of these important components is between five to seven years in Western Europe and about two to three years in Asian countries. To replace the main gear multiplier of a 1.5 MW wind turbine after an unexpected damage costs about 250,000 Euros including crane costs. It also has to be mentioned that availability of gears and bearings is limited. The operation and maintenance of a wind turbine and especially of the above-mentioned components can be supported by various measures, such as integrating a condition monitoring system or developing appropriate maintenance strategies.
The lifetime of the bearings and gears in new as well as in existing wind turbines can be extended by REWITEC’s Nanocoating system even when the first signs of decay appear. REWITEC was founded in 2003 with the goal of reducing the problem of wear and tear in tribologic systems.