By David Bicknell
Change in government priorities and policies can drive structural change that generates significant investment and growth. That is now particularly the case in energy production projects in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster.
From this article on Business Green, it appears that Germany is set for a significant investment in wind power with the setting up of a number of offshore wind farms with new hydroelectric power plants in the offing too.
German energy companies and investors are ready to plough up to €60bn into overhauling the country’s power infrastructure, following the government’s pledge to phase out nuclear reactors.
The energy and water industry association BDEW issued a report on the first day of the Hanover industrial fair revealing that plans are underway to build or modernise 84 power stations with a combined capacity of 42GW.
As Business Green says, the report also provides one of the most detailed insights to date on how the German energy sector plans to cope with the government’s commitment to phase out nuclear capacity in the country post-Fukushima.
Another recent article shows that China is making similar investments in wind energy, spending the equivalent of £4bn in the North-Western Gansu region.
As Jonathan Watts reports, “Wind turbines, which were almost unknown five years ago, stretch into the distance, competing only with far mountains and new pylons for space on the horizon. Jiuquan alone now has the capacity to generate 6GW of wind energy – roughly equivalent to that of the whole UK. The plan is to more than triple that by 2015, when this area could become the biggest wind farm in the world.
“Although it is the world’s biggest CO2 emitter and notorious for building the equivalent of a 400MW coal-fired power station every three days, it is also erecting 36 wind turbines a day and building a robust new electricity grid to send this power thousands of miles across the country from the deserts of the west to the cities of the east.
“It is part of a long-term plan to supply 15 per cent of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2020. Most of that will come from nuclear and hydropower, but the government is also tapping the wind and solar potential of the deserts, mountain plateaus and coastlines.”
Meanwhile, Britain could pump £13bn into the economy and create up to 10,000 jobs by upgrading its power distribution network with smart grid technology, according to a Reuters report.
The technology has the potential to transform the way electricity is generated, distributed and consumed just as the Internet transformed the way the world communicates.
The idea is to create a communication network to maximise efficiency in supply and demand and to cut costs for homes and businesses.