Vestas v Siemens Wind Turbines

Vestas and Siemens dominate offshore projects: Of 2,935 megawatts of installed sea-based wind capacity in Europe at the end of last year, 1,385 megawatts were from Vestas while Siemens had 1,346 megawatts, New Energy Finance data show.

Geared or gearless wind turbines, that is the big choice in the offshore renewable energy sector. Gearless turbines offer reduced maintenance and a lower operating cost, but require permanent magnets using most often, Neodymium Iron Boron magnets (NeFeB). Germany’s Siemens is betting on the newer technology of 10 megawatt gearless turbines, Danish group Vestas is betting on existing geared turbines in a 7 megawatt format. It’s a subject we’ve covered several times before, and one we’ll be returning to over and over again as the new decade unfolds.

Below, Bloomberg updates the story, rather negatively from a Siemens perspective. I think Siemens gearless technology will eventually win out, even if they have a few setbacks in the early stages.  Lower maintenance and the extra power, trump improving the buggy and whip, I think. Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, and Nikolaus Otto and the internal combustion engine come to mind.

Siemens Bets On New Technology in Offshore Wind-Turbine Battle With Vestas
By Alex Morales – May 26, 2011

Siemens AG (SIE) is betting it can sell an unproven wind turbine that uses rare-earth metals from China to cement its lead over Vestas Wind Systems A/S in an offshore power market that’s forecast to be worth $50 billion by 2020.

Germany’s largest engineering company is developing a machine with fewer moving parts to be used at sea, saying the design offers simpler maintenance and improved reliability. Denmark’s Vestas, the world’s biggest supplier for land-based wind farms, is sticking with its existing technology.

—-The windmills, whose blades sweep an area bigger than a football field, are competing as the centerpiece of offshore renewable-energy spending that the U.K. Carbon Trust said may grow to 33 billion pounds ($53 billion) by 2020, about eight times its 2010 level. Britain is the world’s largest offshore market, with more than 1.3 gigawatts of the total installed base of about 3 gigawatts at the end of 2010.


If I have a Neo magnet with a Br of 12,300 Gauss, should I be able to measure 12,300 Gauss on its surface?

The actual measurement will depend on whether the magnet has any steel attached to it, how far away from the surface you make the measurement, and the size of the magnet (assuming that the measurement is being made at room temperature). For example, a 1″ diameter Grade 35 Neo magnet that is 1/4″long, will measure approximately 2,500 Gauss 1/16″ away from the surface, and 2,200 Gauss 1/8″ away from the surface.

From our RMB perspective, it doesn’t directly matter which company, if either, eventually win out, the point is the long term growth in the offshore renewable energy market, where China is just starting to develop its first offshore wind farm. I note that they are going with the Siemens gearless design. By 2020 it is anticipated there will be 52 gigawatts of offshore power generation in play. Only 2 gigawatts will be in the USA.

Northern Europe, with access to the relatively windy and shallow North Sea, has been a testing ground for the technology, and BTM Consult forecasts it to capture 52 gigawatts of a predicted 75 gigawatts in total global installations by 2020, with 20 gigawatts going to Asia, and 2 gigawatts to the U.S., where the developer of the country’s first planned offshore wind farm, Cape Wind Associates LLC, said it’ll use Siemens turbines.

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