Wind power on its way to cost reduction

Siemens representatives participating in high-level panel debates ----- Siemens showcases products and strategies for greater efficiency and cost reduction

Greater output, less weight, improved production and installation processes – Siemens intends to apply these approaches to reduce the costs of offshore wind power in the coming years. The company is presenting its new 4- and 6-megawatt wind turbines at the EWEA Offshore Trade fair in Frankfurt/Main. At the conference accompanying the trade fair, high-ranking representatives from Siemens will present the strategies the company plans to apply to achieve these cost reductions in the coming years.

"We want to reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for offshore wind power by up to 40 percent before the end of the decade", declares Siemens Wind Power CTO Henrik Stiesdal. "This means that starting as early as 2020, we will offer our customers technologies that allows offshore wind power to be produced for less than 10 euro cents per kilowatt hour." The technical innovations that Siemens is presenting at Stand 31C40 in Building 3.1 at the Frankfurt trade fair already demonstrate significant steps toward efficiency enhancement. The nacelle and rotor of the new SWT-6.0-154 6-megawatt wind turbine are around one third lighter than that of similar systems. The direct-drive technology used in the 6-megawatt turbine, which does away with the need for a gearbox, plays a major role in reducing the cost of energy. The weight advantages gained through this enhance economic viability across all project phases, from fabrication to transport, foundations and installation all the way up to operation.

Similar benefits are also offered by the improved offshore geared units with a capacity of 4 megawatts. These units, available as model SWT-4.0-120 with a rotor diameter of 120 meters, and model SWT-4.0-130 with a rotor diameter of 130 meters, combine the technology used in the more than 900 units of the most widely built offshore wind turbine with an increase in performance from the upgraded generator. In addition, the 130 m rotor has innovative, 63-meter-long "aeroelastic" rotor blades. These blades are designed to be flexible under high wind loads and can be produced with up to 20% reduced mass compared to conventional blades.

Henrik Stiesdal reminds us that a wide range of social perspectives must also be taken into account in the offshore wind power cost debate. "Environmental benefits, energy supply stability and positive impacts on domestic job markets are frequently underestimated in the discussion on renewable energy sources", emphasizes Stiesdal. "These aspects, which influence the true ‘society's cost of energy', should also be incorporated into the ongoing cost debate." Only in this manner would a fair assessment of offshore wind energy as compared to conventional or other renewable energy sources be possible. Stiesdal will be participating in the high-level panel discussion during the conference on the topic of future technologies. Michael Hannibal, CEO of EMEA Offshore will also be speaking as part of a high-level panel discussion on the topic, "Is offshore worth the money?"

Wind power and energy service are part of Siemens' Environmental Portfolio. In fiscal 2012, revenue from the Portfolio totaled about €33 billion, making Siemens one of the world's largest suppliers of ecofriendly technologies. In the same period, our products and solutions enabled customers to reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 330 million tons, an amount equal to the total annual CO2 emissions of Berlin, Delhi, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, New York, Singapore and Tokyo.

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