Renewable energies

Wind power

Picture of a wind park. Copyright: BundespresseamtWind power is cur­rently experiencing the highest growth rates of all the forms of renewable energy. It now provides around six per cent of Ger­many's energy re­quire­ment and about one per cent of the global energy require­ment. At sites with very good wind con­di­tions, state-of-the-art wind turbines can deliver electricity at low cost comparable to that of conventional power plants. Although wind po­wer plants cannot generate electricity during lull periods, this draw­back can be compensa­ted through a mix with other forms of energy.

Wind power could also be used to good economic effect in many developing countries. It is true that investment costs are in some cases higher here, due to the fact that expenditure on the transport, installation and maintenance of the plants is greater than in the industrialised states, which have a more developed and denser infrastructure. However, at suitable sites these drawbacks are compensated by excellent wind conditions.

Even at remote locations that are not connected to the regional power grid, wind power is a good option for generating electricity. Here, wind turbines can be combined with diesel generators, which guarantee supply around the clock. Compared to a plain diesel generator, a hybrid power plant of this kind saves a great deal of fuel and generates significantly less carbon dioxide, thus causing less damage to the climate.

The Technical Expertise for Renewable Energy Application (TERNA) programme, commissioned by the BMZ, has been running since 1988. Under the programme the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Inter­nationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) offers its expertise to support partner countries in wind power projects. This involves identifying favourable sites for wind turbines and assessing their energy poten­tial. Project partners are also advised on financing the plants. In Colombia, for instance, Germany has advised the municipal utility of Medellín on the planning of a wind park on the Caribbean coast. The decision to make the investment was reached on the basis of analyses performed by TERNA. The plant was commis­sioned in late 2003, and by 2012 will have produced around one million tonnes of carbon dioxide less than a comparable conventional power plant.

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