Green Hydrogen’s breakout year, China thinks bigger, and wind turbines blaze and fall

AGENDA | Our curation of the must-read news and analysis from the-week-that-was in the global renewable energy industry

Recharge began 2023 with an in-depth look at why it’s lift-off time for green hydrogen, the key energy transition fuel that will need vast amounts of renewable power to produce – and the first days of the new year reinforced that analysis.

Hydrogen’s strategic importance to Europe’s largest economy was again underlined when Germany and Norway agreed plans for an H2 pipeline that would include supplies of the green variety made using North Sea wind power.

There was further endorsement of green H2’s potential by an economic superpower when India revealed it expects to spur 125GW of new renewable capacity to fulfil its own hydrogen ambitions.

The race to produce renewable hydrogen and its derivative green ammonia, meanwhile, opened a whole new frontier this week when plans to link offshore electrolysis to onshore wind in Greenland were revealed.

If green hydrogen’s shift to the big time is set to be one defining energy trend of 2023, a second looks likely to be the growing ambition of China’s wind industry.

Chinese OEMs have claimed two wind power milestones in the early days of the year, with ambitious manufacturer MingYang reinforcing its status as a globally significant player by claiming the mantle of world’s largest onshore turbine for its new 8.5MW model.

Compatriot CSSC Haizhuang went one better by unveiling the components for its 18MW offshore machine – the development of which was first reported exclusively by Recharge – to set a new benchmark for the industry globally.

The extent of Chinese ambition was also on show in Recharge with the start of work on an epic 16GW wind and solar power generation base in Inner Mongolia that aims to recreate “the Three Gorges on the Great Wall”.

The growing scale and longevity of the wind industry inevitably puts more spotlight on the safety of its turbines, and the closing days of last year and first week of 2023 saw Recharge report two incidents at European projects that are now under investigation.

First a Vestas turbine in Germany burst into flamesscattering debris over a nearby road, while in the second an ageing machine at a Vattenfall project collapsed. Fortunately both caused no injuries.


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