Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on April 16, 2008
What’s the most problematic aspect of renewable energy? Evidently the “new” part.
If you’re thinking of switching to wind power, you might be in for a long wait. While wind is easy to come by, it seems the turbines that extract its energy are not. According to CNET.com, massive demand for wind turbines has created a major shortage because manufacturers have been unable to keep up and orders are taking as long as a year-and-a-half to fill.
The problem is so significant, it seems, that some wind park developers “are being forced to jostle their plans and supply line relationships to keep projects on track.” Others are resorting to purchasing companies with ample supplies — or at least a contract guaranteeing they’ll obtain them — in order to stay in business. Earlier this year, Scottish and Southern Energy, one of the UK’s largest energy companies, spent $2.7 billion to acquire Airtricty, a company that specializes in the development of wind farms — a move some believe is prompted by Airtricity’s committed contracts for turbines.
Who’s to blame for the shortage? The growth in demand, of course. Which can hardly be termed a bad thing. The fact that General Electric and Vestas, among the few companies that produce large turbines — the blades of which can outsize a 747’s wingspan — can’t manufacture the machines quickly enough to satisfy the demand of large requesters like Spain, Canada and California means that more and more corporations have faith in this cost-effective source of renewable energy. And hopefully in time the supply will equal the demand.
Who knows? Maybe there’s an opportunity here. Maybe wind turbine production can become the dot coms of this century.