Environmental Engineering Reference
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blade materials. Nevertheless, the trends that were responsible for the earlier cost
reductions are still at work. Manufacturers are developing more cost-effective
production techniques, so bringing down the price of machines. Machine sizes are
increasing, which means that fewer are needed for a given capacity, and so installed
costs of wind farms are decreasing. In addition, larger wind farms are being built,
which spreads the costs of overheads, roads, electrical connections and financing
over greater capacities. The use of larger wind turbines means that they intercept
higher wind speeds and this impacts on the energy generation and so on to the
generation costs.
1.8.3 Market growth
The rate at which the wind energy market develops and the rate at which prices fall
are linked. Strong market growth has led to a steady fall in prices and, assuming
these trends continue, the market growth will be sustained as wind energy becomes
steadily more competitive in comparison with gas-fired generation. One recent
projection of future trends (Global Wind Energy Council, 2013) suggests that the
annual increase of capacity will rise from the 2012 level of about 45 GW to around
61 GW by 2017. Total global capacity may then reach 536 GW and electricity
production may account for around 4% of world electricity generation. The Eur-
opean market will continue to account for most capacity for some years yet, and
offshore wind is likely to increase gradually in significance.
1.8.4 Integration issues
Increasing numbers of electricity networks are coping with, or considering, the
issues associated with increasing volumes of wind energy, and so there is an
increasing understanding of the possible problems and solutions. Broadly speaking,
there is a consensus on the key question of the additional costs associated with
additional reserve, although there are some variations due to the differing costs of
the reserve itself. With the benefit of more operational experience, the additional
costs associated with wind variability may be expected to be quantified more pre-
cisely and may possibly fall. In addition, new techniques of demand-side man-
agement may mean that the need for extra physical frequency response plant may
be reduced, with consequential reductions in cost (Kirby, 2003).
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