Positive Environment News

INTERVIEW - Shell set for rapid growth in wind power

Date: 08-Mar-02
Country: UK
Author: Stuart Penson

Shell aims to have in place a thousand megawatts of wind generating capacity by 2005, up from an existing capacity of 140 megawatts, as it sinks cash into joint venture projects across Europe and the U.S.

"We are looking at a whole raft of projects," said Robert Kleiburg, vice president strategy & planning at Shell International Renewables.

"Our plan is to invest $0.5 billion to $1 billion in new energy technologies over five years to the end of 2005, subject to ongoing review," he said in an interview.

"Compared to annual expenditure at Shell of $12 billion to $13 billion, this is a sizeable investment," he added.

Kleiburg said Shell's wind generating capacity had already jumped from 8 megawatts to 140 megawatts last year - a growth rate of 1,500 percent.

He said Shell expected to hear next month from the Dutch government whether it had won a contract to build a 100 megawatt offshore windfarm in a joint venture with Dutch energy company Nuon.

"We have a 25 percent chance of winning it, (Shel and NUON) are one of four bidders," said Kleiburg.

Shell and Nuon are competing with E.ON Benelux Services; a consortium of Siemens, Heijmans and Van Oord ACZ; and a constortium of Electrabel Nederland, Vestas Nederland Windtechnologie, Jan de Nul and Fabricom.

Shell also has offshore wind power projects in the UK but has focused on onshore plants in the U.S. market.

"We have not tied ourselves to a balance between onshore and offshore wind, it depends on the economics," said Kleiburg.

He said Shell was also investing in solar energy technology, where it was already the world's number four player with capacity of 50 megawatts.

"Our focus is on solar and wind but we are also going to take a very hard look at geothermal, biofuels and hydrogen technology," he said.

In January, Shell boosted its presence in solar when it took full control of Germany's Siemens und Shell Solar GmbH, one of the world's few established producers of solar photovaltic cells and panels.

"The key challenge with solar is to get the costs down," said Kleiburg.

Earlier he told an industry conference the cost of solar power was falling by 20 percent every time the amount of installed capacity was doubled. Costs had fallen fourfold between 1982 and 2000, he said.

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