World Environment Day - combating climate change by harnessing the wind

2012-06-05 - Facilitating wind power to help curb CO2 emissions.

Offshore wind

At ABB we have long shown a commitment to lowering our environmental impact and our efforts to combat climate change focus on three main areas; supporting our customers’ efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency within our company and our manufacturing processes and increasing the use of renewable energy sources such as biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric and solar and wind power.

Taking action to solve problems

Over the past three years, ABB’s wind power business has grown on average over 50 percent a year, but historically there have been difficulties associated with wind farms, such as the amount of space they occupy, the importance of their siting (without obstructions such as trees or hills), their noise and the threat to birds and bats. An obvious but only recent solution is to site the wind farm offshore, such as the Borkum-2 wind park, which is situated in the North Sea over 100 kilometers off the coast of Germany.

Did you know?

  • Wind power is one of the first energy forms to be harnessed by man; firstly to power sea-craft and then, through windmills, to provide power for agricultural tasks.
  • Traditional power stations create over 21 percent of our global greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel retrieval and their processing and distribution create over 11 percent.
  • Global warming due to greenhouse gas levels has already had a discernible effect on many physical and biological systems and is projected to affect various issues such as freshwater resources, food, health and industry.
  • Renewable energy is a term used for the sources of energy that are natural and continuous in the environment. All forms of renewable energy can be traced back to the sun, or the interaction of the sun and the moon.
  • Renewable energy is used primarily for electricity production that can be stably integrated into a country’s existing grid.
  • Contributing to the Green Economy now and in the future
    Borkum-2 is one of the most remote and the largest offshore wind farms in the world, presenting its own challenges to connect its wind-generated electricity to the onshore grid for German utility TenneT Offshore GmbH. The 400 MW transmission link, commissioned by ABB in 2009, uses HVDC Light (high-voltage direct current) technology, and gives the utility company complete control over the power supply and increases the stability of its grid.

    This innovative technology is ideal for connecting remote wind farms to mainland networks without distance limitations or constraints on the grid and is also environmentally sound, as it comprises neutral electromagnetic fields, oil-free cables and compact converter stations. The environmental impact was also reduced by laying most of our transmission system underground and under water.

    Use of the wind farm instead of traditional fossil-fuel methods to produce electricity prevents approximately 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, a figure that can only rise as Germany’s use of wind energy increases. This venture proved how effectively renewable power sources could be integrated and has led to other countries following suit with similar projects.

    Click here to link back to "The Green Economy: Does it include you?"

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