Brevini Wind USA’s Jacopo Tozzi Speech at IndustryWeek’s Best Plants 2012 Opening Reception
Posted by Machines Italia | 30 Apr 2012
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Brevini remains committed to wind as an energy source, but it doesn't look the same for the rest of the country. Installed capacity was at 10 GW in 2009 but estimates for 2013 are down to 3, maybe 4 GW; with such a perspective the entire industry is going to shrink significantly.
We sell our main drives to the assembly plants of the Wind Turbines OEMs where the nacelles are built. There are nine (9) such OEMs in the US with 14 GW of nacelle assembly capacity. With the market plummeting to 3GW there will be a disruption in the existing industry structure: knowhow and jobs will be lost forever or at least for a long time since the investments which would be lost are big and the rate of return in the wind OEMs market, even in the best years, hasn't been so good.
For the moment no one cares about the renewable markets since the shale gas is giving the illusion that energy will be cheap forever. This is unfortunately not true, as a history of the European energy market shows. Take my country as an example: Italy opted for natural gas in the 80s because it was less expensive than oil but market conditions have changed dramatically over the past 30 years. Today we buy gas from several sources; Russia, the Caspian area, Norway, Great Britain, Algeria, Libya and we can buy also LNG; so we have a lot of alternatives but the cost of energy which Brevini pays in Italy is almost three (3) times higher than the price we pay in Indiana. This is the case for every hydrocarbon; the trend is always upward because of the increasing cost of extraction. New technology allows for deeper wells and extraction of oil and gas from shale and tar sands BUT always at greater cost! It would be wise to build viable alternatives!
In contrast to that trend the cost of the fuel of wind turbine, wind, is zero! This is true today as it will be in 20, 30 or 40 years: long term power purchase agreements between wind farms and utilities stabilize the cost of power over the broad energy market. The full cost of the wind produced by KW/h is declining as well, as the technology improves (higher towers catch more wind, better drive units increase the wind curve generating wind at lower wind speeds) all as the cost of wind remains the same.
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