Wind

Russian nuclear leader enters African wind energy market – Energize

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Staffwriter  – 

Nuclear power company Rosatom is to enter the African wind energy market via its Novawind division. Novawind is a new division of Rosatom, whose primary objective is to consolidate Rosatom’s efforts in advanced segments and technological platforms of the electric power sector.

Novawind implements the corporation’s strategy in the wind energy business. The strategy requires forming of new competencies in Russia and worldwide, such as wind farms’ construction and management, localisation and ramp-up production of wind turbines, marketing and sales of new products along with after-sales support.

In November 2017 Novawind and Dutch company Lagerwey established a joint venture: Red Wind B.V. Lagerwey provides the transfer of manufacturing technologies for wind turbines with a capacity of 2,5 MW to the Russian partner and also shares competencies in the field of wind farms construction.

Redwind will be responsible for the manufacture, marketing and sales of wind turbines, as well as construction of wind farms, localisation and production of wind power plants for Novawind. The generation company Wind SGC operates and maintains the wind farm.

Novawind supplies a complete package of services, including wind assessment, site selection, WTG manufacturing, construction, start up and adjustments, operational  commissioning, and after sales support.

The standard model used by Novawind  is the L-100 2,5 MW wind turbine. The generator is a direct drive permanent magnet generator with a cut-in wind speed of 2,5 m/s. A tower height of 100 m is used. The variable rotor speed principle with active pitch is designed to follow the optimal aero dynamical working point of the blade at all times. This ensures optimal distribution of loads at high wind speeds and high energy efficiency at low wind speeds down to 2,2 m/s.

The wind resource potential in South Africa is seen by Rosatom to be extremely good. Wind turbines could be operated with extraordinarily high load factors above 0,3 in locations all over the country, large areas even offer load factors around 0,4.

More than 80% of South Africa’s land mass has enough wind resources for low cost wind energy. Furthermore, South Africa is a large country with a low population density and much space.

Hybrid energy system combining both nuclear power and renewables can help significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Moving to an ultra-low carbon electricity system does not mean choosing between two mutually exclusive paths: one path dominated by nuclear energy and the other dominated by variable renewables.

Carbon-free options need to be expanded, rather than constrained. Hybrid systems could also foster cogeneration for seawater desalination, hydrogen production, district heating, cooling and other industrial applications. Wind works very well with the existing baseload in South Africa as it follows the demand curve.

Peak demand is in late afternoon, when wind is generally at its strongest. Nuclear offers a great support system, giving renewables the space to deliver when the wind is blowing, but it’s always there when it’s needed.

Wind power development can cost around $1-million/MW of generating capacity installed. Rosatom considers that to take advantage of economies of scale, wind power facilities should be in excess of 100 MW. This will take an initial investment of about $100-million.

Novawind JSC policy is the support of local industries and the development of relevant skills locally, and as such is interested in collaborating with reliable suppliers not only among major construction companies and manufacturing enterprises, but also among small and medium businesses. The purchasing system is based on application of open purchasing procedures governed by the legislative and regulatory framework of the Russian Federation.

Novawind is not considering entering the PV market, as the solar resource in most of Russia is inadequate to justify the use of PV, and Rosatom does not manufacture items that are not primarily used in the Russian market.

This article is based on a presentation by Irina Simonova, Rosatom’s business development manager for central and southern Africa.

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