Archive for the ‘Wind energy’ category

Ingeteam to open a renewable energy components plant in Milwaukee

February 18, 2010

Ingeteam, Inc., a supplier to the wind and solar energy industries, will establish a new plant in Milwaukee that will specialize in designing renewable energy products. The company intends to begin construction on the project in April so it can be finished by the end of the year.

Ingeteam has its headquarters in Bilbao, Spain, and is made up of 28 companies employing more than 3,500 people. Besides the field of renewable energy, the company is present in the following  areas:  railway traction, marine, combined heat and power, the iron and steel industry and hydraulic machines.

The production facility will be approximately 100,000 square feet in size and will focus on manufacturing its Indar-brand wind power generators and Ingeteam converters, as well as solar power inverters. When working at its full capacity, the plant will be capable of producing 7,500 megawatts of green energy every year. It will create as many as 60 jobs in 2011 and 275 jobs by 2015.

“After carefully analyzing our company’s needs, we selected Milwaukee for our new production facility because the city is conveniently located for distribution of our products and has a solid industrial base from which Ingeteam can source materials,” said Ander Gandiaga, Ingeteam’s corporate director for international development.  Aitor Sotes, CEO of Ingeteam’s U.S. subsidiary, also mentioned the city’s skilled work force, local college programs and state requirements for renewable energy.

At the moment, Ingeteam has a 12-15 percent market share of the worldwide wind power component market. However, it has room to grow in America and will use the Milwaukee plant as a means to do so.  The new factory is going to make possible the production of equipment for the equivalent of 7,500 MW each year. In these facilities, several ranges of converter/generator products will be manufactured, covering ranges from 1.5 to 5 MW of power for wind usage. In the medium term, Ingeteam plans  to endow the plant with the capacity to perform joint testing of complete equipment. For the solar photovoltaic market, the production of converters (inverters) will cover the range from 2.5 to 500 kW

Ingeteam has a unit in Santa Clara, California, for sales of solar photovoltaic inverters and is also present in Mequon, Wisconsin, carrying out wind turbine operation and maintenance activities. Through this activity, Ingeteam today manages more than 2,200 MW distributed over 60 wind farms all over the world.

In addition, Ingeteam has an important experience in water management, through its brand Indar Hydraulic Equipment, a leading pumps manufacturer. Indar started its commercial activity in the USA in 2003. Currently, it supplies submersible pumping equipment.

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Siemens and Sky Global choose Cantabria, Spain, for their latest renewable energy projects

September 18, 2009

Multinational Siemens is to install a test center for state-of-the-art wind turbines in the region of Cantabria (Northern Spain), the exact location of which is yet to be decided. Work will be carried out with the University of the Autonomous Region and the Regional Government.

The European Chief Executive of Siemens Wind Power, Lars Bondo Krogsgaard, the Cantabria Region Minister for Industry, Juan José Sota, and the Dean of the University of Cantabria, Federico Gutiérrez-Solana, signed an agreement on the 14th of August that will enable the multinational to collaborate in the development of onshore and offshore wind energy in the autonomous region.


apocalyptic sunset
Originally uploaded by Xavier Fargas

The Director of the company in Europe said they were still looking for a site for the test center in Cantabria, and had not ruled out having more than one location. Activities will begin with between ten and fifteen Siemens researchers, who will work closely with other researchers in the University of Cantabria.

Siemens is currently working in sectors such as industry, energy and health, it has companies in 190 countries, a workforce of 430,000 – 10,000 of which are in Spain – and has installed over 8,000 Megawatts of wind capacity around the world through its subsidiary Siemens Wind Power.

It is not the only renewable energy investment planned for the region.  The Chinese company Sky Global with extensive experience in Spain is to install a photovoltaic panel factory in Cantabria as well.

Sky Global, part of Shanghai Electric, is to open a manufacturing plant for modules at the Campoo-Los Valles Eco-park.

That is how it is described in the report on economic prospects for Cantabria, which estimates the forecast investment required to set the project up as amounting to 14.5 million euros and foresees the creation of 465 jobs.

The new  plant will also be joined by the installation of a 9.9 megawatt photovoltaic solar farm with 672 panels from the Chinese firm. The farm will be divided between two plots also located in Valdeolea.

Sky Global Solar S.A. is a company with an international outlook created in 2006 by professionals with wide-ranging experience in the Asian and European photovoltaic markets. Sky Global currently has offices in several Spanish cities and has set up strategic alliances with companies and industrial agents from the sector in Europe and Asia.

Alstom moves wind energy HQ to Barcelona and mulls growth in the US and Asia

April 1, 2009

French multinational company Alstom is to transfer from Switzerland to Barcelona its wind energy subsidiary, Alstom executive vice president Philippe Joubert confirmed in an interview with Spanish newspaper Expansion. The division will be set up in Ecotècnia facilities at Barcelona’s 22@ technology district. The company, which employs about a 1,000 workers, will work on its international expansion from its new headquearters, Mr. Joubert said.

Alstom has also hired business executive Alfonso Faubel who will become the CEO for Alstom Ecotècnia Wind. The French group entered the wind energy business in 2007 with the acquisition of Spanish wind turbine company Ecotècnia, in a deal valued at 350 million euros.

Why Barcelona? “It’s where we have the know-how in this business and and we need to regroup to face the difficulties of the moment,” said Joubert. “The process of integration with Ecotècnia has been completed very successfully,” added the president of Alstom in Spain, Antonio Oporto. 

Ecotècnia has installed over 1,500MW of cumulated capacity in seven countries (Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, India, Cuba and Japan). Alstom Ecotecnia has equipped or is equipping over 72 wind farms, over 50 of which are located in Spain.  Alstom Ecotècnia has also developed a wind farm construction activity in Spain that contributes to generating turbine sales.

The executive vice president of Alstom considers the current situation a good opportunity to consider purchasing opportunities in the wind business.  “We want to double the size of Ecotècnia in the coming years”.

Alstom Ecotecnia 100“We are considering multiple purchases in United States and Asia, probably in China,” said Philippe Joubert. The company is developing larger turbines for these markets. It just installed in Barcelona the first unit of its new model: Ecotècnia 100. With its 100 meter rotor diameter, the new Ecotècnia 100 turbine has a power output of 3MW. 

“The wind energy market has been the hardest hit by funding problems, but will also be the first out of the crisis,” said Oporto. “We are not yet a major player in the wind business, but we have gained many years´advantage with the purchase of Ecotècnia,” says Joubert. The subsidiary has a market share of approximately 10% in Spain, but aims to control 5% of the global market in the coming years.  

Rockford Construction joins with Spanish company Berge to help develop wind farms

March 16, 2009

Madrid, Spain-based Bergé Logística Energética and Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction last week announced the formation of Rockford Bergé, an organization combining wind farm construction with comprehensive logistical services. 

Rockford Bergé will focus its initial efforts in Michigan with plans to service the entire Great Lakes region. Rockford Bergé is a one-of-a-kind company in Michigan, offering construction and logistical services for clients who wish to construct wind farms,” said Mike VanGessel, president and CEO of Rockford Construction. “With this unique combination of expertise, Rockford Bergé will provide utilities and municipalities that wish to develop wind farms with a cost-efficient, deadline-oriented partner.”

Rockford Construction was recently ranked as a Top 50 Green Contractor by Engineering News-Record. Bergé has expertise in many aspects of energy infrastructure logistics, including transporting massive turbine parts from around the world. Approximately half of the parts for wind turbines in the United States currently come from overseas as the support industries are being developed in North America.

“Data analysis indicates that Michigan offers some of the best opportunities in the nation to capture wind energy,” said Jorge Gonzalez, Bergé project manager. “Currently, Michigan ranks 22nd in the nation in terms of the amount of power being generated from wind, producing nearly 130 megawatts of power. But it is 14th in terms of wind abundance. That gap between power generation and wind abundance is an indicator of a largely untapped market.” 

The Right Place, a nonprofit economic development organization serving Greater Grand Rapids, helped bring the two companies together. The Right Place, in partnership with the West Michigan Strategic Alliance, commissioned a study on the wind industry in Michigan in 2008. The study identified organizations already in the region, such as Rockford Construction, with the expertise needed to construct wind farms. It also identified needs that would not be met by companies in the region, such as logistics, and found leaders in these categories, such as Bergé, that could fill those needs.

Spanish wind energy manufacturer GOIAN to locate in Iowa

November 10, 2008

GA-250Spanish wind energy component manufacturer Elevadores Goian has announced its first US facility will be located in the Greater Des Moines area. The company’s US division, Goian North America LLC, will lease and build-out a 16,000 square foot office, service and manufacturing facility from the Denny Elwell Company in the Metro North Business Park in Ankeny. Goian (pronounced goy-ANNE) designs, manufactures, sells, installs and services industrial elevation systems. The company provides lifts for people and equipment that are installed inside the support towers for wind turbines.

The company initially evaluated sites in five states. Goian required a facility that would accommodate manufacturing, assembly, service and office uses at competitive rates with ready interstate access to wind energy installations in Iowa and surrounding states. Additional factors that the company considered in making its location decision were worker availability, competitive amenities for workers and local community support. The company will initially hire up to twelve workers in sales, wind farm service, manufacturing and administrative roles.

“The new wind energy program at the main Des Moines Area Community College campus in Ankeny will also be a substantial benefit for Goian.” commented Ankeny Mayor Steven Van Oort.

Iñaki Sancho, General Manager of Goian North America LLC, affirmed the competitiveness of the Greater Des Moines area as an advanced manufacturing center. “Goian is confident that our decision to place our first North American facility in the Des Moines area will be an excellent investment. We have easy access to the suppliers, customers and workforce that will grow our company well into the future.”

The Iowa Department of Economic Development, Greater Des Moines Partnership and City of Ankeny worked cooperatively to assist Goian in its site selection process. Goian is one of the three companies owned by the Jaso Group. The Group is a worldwide leader in the industrial elevation systems sector with 40 years of experience, over 800 employees and a presence in 31 countries.

Goian is the first company worldwide to develop its own rack-and-pinion technology and cable technology used for elevation systems in wind turbine towers. It has installed about 2,500 lifts so far. The company has developed seven models for use in the wind energy sector: four based on rack-and-pinion technology and three based on cable technology.

In the past couple of years, six other major wind energy manufacturers have announced plans to locate or expand their operations in Iowa, including TPI Composites Inc. and Siemens AG (blades), Trinity Industries Inc. and Hendricks (towers), Clipper and Acciona Energy (wind turbines).

“The wind industry continues to be a source of tremendous growth for Iowa,” said Michael Tramontina, director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development. “We are pleased to add Goian to the growing list of wind-related companies that are choosing Iowa for their first North American location.”

A new type of vertical axis wind turbine for city spaces

September 25, 2008

A 5 Kw prototype of a new type of wind turbine with vertical axis and horizontal blades is ready to make its market debut.  It is a product developed by the company Indesmedia (IDM) EOL, based in Cantabria (Northern Spain). It is designed to be installed in urban spaces like buildings and industrial plants.

The installation of two prototypes was recently completed at the Besaya Business Park (Cantabria). Both devices are being tested by technicians from Indesmedia before being moved to Barcelona, where they will be reinstalled in a building for an R+D project headed by the engineering arm of the Spanish utility Endesa.

The current phase is testing the structural resistance, electronic controls and power electronics of the wind turbine, as well as the performance of different types of blades.

The product is the result of a project funded by the wind and solar energy program from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. Its main objectives are minimising the visual impact and noise of the wind turbines, simplifying their manufacturing process and installation and finding new spaces where to take advantage from wind energy, such as urban spaces, ships and marine platforms.

Another important factor considered in their design was reducing risks for birds and bats, hence they rotate at low speeds (under 10 rpm) and the towers are no more than 13 yards high. Two other key institutions collaborating in this project are INTA and Robotiker-Tecnalia. INTA, the Spanish Institute for Aerospace Technology, did the design of the blades and the rotor. Robotiker-Tecnalia, a technology center specialised in ITC technology and product development, assisted in the development of the power electronics.

New techniques to protect wind generators during voltage dips

September 9, 2008
Jesus López Taberna

Jesus López Taberna

An industrial engineer and member of the INGEPER Research Team at the Public University of Navarre (Spain), Jesús López Taberna, has put forward in his PhD two protection techniques  so that wind generators continue to be operative despite breaks in electricity supply.

The objective of Jesús López Taberna was to provide a solution to the problems caused by sudden dips in voltage in the electric grid. The fruit of his research is a rotor model which enables anticipating how the wind power unit will behave in these situations. This system allows the  generator to remain in operation during these voltage dips and thus prevent the wind energy converter from ceasing to function.

A voltage dip is a sudden reduction in potential in the electric grid, followed by a rapid return to its normal value. This, at times, can be caused by lightning or a tree falling on power cables, but also to a large company consuming a lot of energy in one go. This drop in voltage happens in a matter of milliseconds; “we are aware of it because the lights begin to flicker or because they go off and on for a moment– but, for a machine, this can be an eternity”, explains Mr López. In fact, an interruption of half a second in a productive process can cause the whole process to block.

With wind generators, in the case of a voltage dip, the electronic part of the unit can burn out or  be otherwise  destroyed, unless a protection system is installed. “The current system of protection, known as Crowbar, has the advantage of being able to protect the machine but its disadvantage is that it causes the machine to come to a halt”, points out Mr López.

Considering that, in Spain, for example, there are days when wind-powered energy can account for one third of electricity production, the problem can prove to be a serious one.

Jesús López Taberna specifically proposed in his PhD thesis two effective protection systems.  Both have been patented. The first, only requiring changing the control of the machine converter, has been transferred to a manufacturer for its introduction into wind farms worldwide; the other requires changing elements inside the machine, so it is still in study with the idea to apply it in the next generation of wind turbines.