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ANALYSISRENEWABLES


Relocation market for first generation turbines


While the rate of growth in the development of new wind farms may be slowing, a new project logistics market in that sector may be opening up – the relocation of older turbines to other parts of the world. That, at least, is the possibility raised by Franco


Ravazzolo, manager project logistics and breakbulk for Austrian worldwide freight transport and logistics provider Gebrüder Weiss. “We have just started seeing requests relating to the movement of used first generation wind turbines, which are now 15-20 years old, from west and


Such trends, he said, are


creating problems both in terms of the ability of port cranes to handle such cargo and the availability of suitable shipping capacity. “The vessels need to be more or less purpose built or you need to bring in heavy lift vessels, which increases the costs.”


A further potential problem in that context, he added, is that as the size of ships built to carry a large number of wind turbines becomes ever larger, so there is an increased risk they will in fact be diverted into the oil and gas market where day rates are higher.


Solar panels


Elsewhere on the renewable energy scene, much of the development to date in the solar sector has involved small-scale installations of panels on individual business buildings and private homes. Taken together with the fact that the equipment required for such installations can be shipped in containers as standard commercial cargo, the opportunities for project forwarding business have been limited.


However, in some parts of the world there is now an increasing focus on the development of large-scale solar panel ‘parks’. Late last year, for example, First Solar, a US based global provider of photovoltaic (PV) solar systems, announced it had been chosen by the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority to construct a 13 MW PV power plant in Seih Al Dahal, approximately 50 km south of the


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central Europe to countries in Africa. In fact, we are currently working on one such shipment from Switzerland to Namibia,” he reported. Explaining the background to this development,


Ravazzolo said the main issue when it comes to older turbines is the foundations, which tend to start breaking up after about 20 years due to the constant pressure and vibration from the moving parts. “The steel structures are still perfect and could work for another 20-30 years but it is often better to scrap or sell the old turbines than renew the


foundations,” he commented. Ravazzolo said the movement of used wind turbines is of added interest to specialist project forwarders due to the potential challenges associated with such operations.


“For example, first they have to be dismantled.


Also, if they are in remote mountain locations, the roads which might have been built to get the turbines to site may no longer exist. Plus, the destinations, such as southern or eastern Africa, may be more challenging.”


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July/August 2013 67


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