Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Second Wind for Aging Wind Turbines

This trend was first pointed out to me by Maril Hazlett at the Climate and Energy Project. I've forgotten if it was in an email or a post on the CEP blog.
From BusinessWeek:

A two-year wait for new turbines is forcing some buyers into the secondhand market to meet the EU's carbon reduction targets

The 100 or so inhabitants of the Isle of Gigha, off the west coast of Scotland, aren't your typical trendsetters. Yet when this small island community spent $870,000 for three secondhand Vestas (VWS.CO) back in 2004, it became one of the first buyers to tap Europe's blossoming market for used wind turbines.

Now churning out enough power to meet almost all of Gigha's annual electricity needs, the 675-kilowatt wind farm has significantly cut the island's carbon dioxide footprint while generating an annual $150,000 profit for Gigha Renewable Energy, the locally owned company that operates the turbines. "To be honest, we bought them for financial reasons," says Jacqui MacLeod, manager of the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust.

The success of Gigha's reconditioned turbines—known locally as the Dancing Ladies—highlights a fast-growing new market created by the global boom in wind-generated power. The almost two-year waiting period (, 2/27/08) for new turbines from the likes of General Electric (GE) and Siemens (SI) is forcing some buyers into the secondhand market to meet the European Union's CO2 reduction targets (, 1/23/08). Moreover, used turbines cost 40% less than new turbines, and their typically smaller size makes it easier to get local approval for their installation....MORE