We pointed out in a post on Thursday, August 30, 2007 Wind Energy as a source of electricity - benefits overblown that there are the limitations in using wind energy as a source of electricity generation in the UK and Europe .
With thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting. Gearboxes hiding inside the casings perched on top of the towering masts have short shelf lives, often crapping out before even five years is up. In some cases, fractures form along the rotors, or even in the foundation, after only limited operation.
We quoted Andreas Düser of German wind turbine giant Enercon, for its part, considers the risks associated with offshore wind power generation too great. While the growth potential is tempting, the company does not want to lose its good standing on the high seas.
Dong Energy the Danish consortium had to comprehensively replace the gears and transformers on all the Vestas turbines on the massive Copenhagen offshore site and manufacutere Vestas is struggling to make profits. Last year Vestas, the world's largest producer of wind turbines, lost nearly DKK 1.2bn (EUR 116m) on sales of DKK 26.7bn (EUR 3.58bn)last year(2005) up 52% on the previous year. The company's board called the loss 'disappointing' and 'totally unacceptable'.
Three factors had helped cause the losses last year: disappointing North American earnings, a lack of components, and vastly increased guarantee provisions.
Now Moon over Alabama has an intriguing report on Enercon the third largest manufactuere of wind turbine systems in Germany.. They don't sell trubines for use at sea and they don't sell in America.
Enercon wind turbine generators are unique in that they don't have gear boxes to wear out, breakdown. They do have distinctive drop-shaped generator housings, designed by Lord Norma Foster , and their towers, are painted light green at the base to blend in with their surroundings (Enercon Natural Color Scheme).
The main rotor turns directly within a "nearly frictionless (?) annular. The moving part of the generator consist of perma magnets and the static part, the stator, is a ring of copper wires. When the rotation of the perma magnets induces energy into the stator, a part of that energy also provides wste (and unwanted ) that heats the copper wires which can lead to isolation problems or even fires.
The new type of E-82s avoids that problem. Its stator is water-cooled in a closed loop system and in the picture above one can see the heat exchangers of the cooling system on the front top of the machine house. You can see details by this scrolling down this page.
Normal E-82's have 2 megawatts output. This water-cooled version is said to generate 3 megawatts fully loaded.
The immediate puzzle is - There are no Enercon wind turbine generators in the United States.
As the wikipedia Enercon entry says:
Enercon was prohibited from exporting their wind turbines to the US until
2010 due to infringement of U.S. Patent 5,083,039. [...] Enercon claims their
intellectual property was stolen by Kenetech (US Windpower, Inc.) and patented
in the US before they could do so. Kenetech made similar claims against Enercon.
According to the European Parliament: "Kenetech seeking evidence for legal
action against Enercon for breach of patent rights on the grounds that Enercon
had obtained commercial secrets illegally. According to an NSA employee,
detailed information concerning Enercon was passed on to Kenetech via
The story has it's origins in the early 1990's . It is alleged, though not proven, that the CIA 'aquired' the technical information which was patented in the U.S. by Kenetech. Later the NSA was involved to 'prove' that Enercon was in breach of that Kenetech patent.
The NSA listened in to Enercon communication and 'aquired' codes needed to enter and shut down Enercon wind generators. Some folks on Kenetech's payroll used these codes and then climbed up into the machine house of one Enercon generator in Germany. There they took plenty of pictures. These pictures were used against Enercon in the U.S. patent case by Kenetech.
Now one has to ask how did this work ...did someone at Echelon / NSA say to Kenetech say..." hey we were listening in and we heard ..." or did someone ask Echelon / NSA to perhaps take a look see ?.
"Kenetech’s complaint before the ITC alleged that Enercon GmbH (Enercon) and New World Power Corp. (NWP) planned to import into the United States certain variable wind turbines that infringed Kenetech’s U.S. Patent No. 5,083,039 (the ’039 patent). On August 30, 1996, the administrative law judge made an initial determination that Enercon had violated section 337 by selling for importation variable wind turbines that infringed claim 131 of the ’039 patent and issued an order excluding Enercon’s variable wind turbines from entry into the United States until the expiration of the ’039 patent. "
In an article in Die Welt in 1999 Treachery amongst friends by Oliver Schröm, a Ruth Heffernan described how on a cold day near Aurich on 3rd March 1994 with a Kenetech employee Robert; Bob" Jans and Ubbo de Witt they spied on an E-40 which they were able to enter after using the codes to stop the rotors. They spend over an hour examining the equipment and taking photographs.
She explained a US secret service coworker had revealed that they had listened to the firm from Aurich (Enercon) and had heard telephone conversations and that secret codes and secret research documents were intercepted and were passed on to Kenetech their American competitors.
The same article claims that Airbus faxes and communications with the Saudies were passed on to Boeing and they lost a 6 Bn Mark order for Airbus planes. They also say NSA listened i to hotel rooms of Japanese auto delegates at a trade conference.