We are "an energy hungry civilisation". Undoubtedly, the abundance of energy consuming technologies, machines and gadgets significantly enhances our standard of living. However, there are some very well publicised downsides. The largest source of energy in both the developed and developing worlds is still fossil fuels, typically coal and petroleum. In this era of technological advance, it is astounding that we are still relying on an energy source which has been used by ancient civilisations dating back to 1000 BC. They are polluting and are in increasingly short supply. Our thirst for energy, coupled with increasing costs of producing and consuming energy, has opened the door for innovative and technological solutions to a problem that is getting bigger.
There are of course a number of sources of clean, renewable energies available. Governments around the world, together with international protocols, are designing and attempting to enforce quotas to ensure that alternative sources of energy become widespread. The most widely available alternative to fossil fuel is wind energy; it is limitless, and available in most climates and geographies. Ironically, it is not a new idea, but it consumes nothing and produces no pollution. Sailors have used wind for millennia and millers have ground grain with it for hundreds of years.
In 1984, an innovative young German engineer, Aloys Wobben founded a company that produced its first wind turbine with a rating of 55 kW, which is still in operation today! It was the start of ENERCON which has now installed over 20,000 Wind Energy Converters (WEC) with ratings up to 7,580 kW. With production facilities in Sweden, Brazil, Turkey, Portugal, Canada, Austria and France, ENERCON is the fifth largest manufacturer of WECs in the world and still growing.
The WEC industry requires innovation; it produces market advantage. ENERCON are driven by innovation and quality. A couple of examples demonstrates how they have developed and enhanced WEC technology.
Rotor blade concept: When it comes to yield, noise emission and stress minimisation, ENERCON's rotor blade concept sets new standards in the wind energy sector. Their modified shape enables blades to not only draw energy from the outer edges but also use the inner radius of the swept area. This directly increases power output creating more efficient energy production.
Direct drive: Previously, WECs required a series of gears in their drive system. However, ENERCON's wind energy converters are based on a simple principle: fewer rotating components reduce mechanical stress while at the same time increasing the equipment's technical service life. With their innovative direct drive system, turbine maintenance and service costs are reduced (fewer wearing parts, no gear oil change etc.) and operating expenses lowered.
ENERCON WECs can be conveniently integrated in various grid configurations and efficiently adapted to meet extreme climate conditions. This enables them to be installed at both hot and cold sites without fear of operations being limited by the weather. With state of the art research and production facilities, ENERCON are market leaders within their industry.
ENERCON in Australia
ENERCON have been part of the Australian landscape in several states for a number of years. The most recent project was completed at the Grasmere site in Western Australia. Two wind farms produce around 80% of Albany's annual electricity needs; at times, 100% of Albany's electricity. The six 2.3MW ENERCON Grasmere Wind Farm turbines are similar size to the Albany Wind Farm turbines. However, their innovative design enables them to generate 30% more power than the turbines at the Albany Wind Farm. The ENERCON Grasmere WECs reduce Albany's greenhouse gas emissions by 43,500 tonnes per year. This is the equivalent of taking 10,000 cars off the road.
ENERCON continues to have a strong presence in Australia. Australia's climate is conducive to wind energy technologies and ENERCON will continue to provide much needed energy solutions to Australia.
ENERCON and Saward Dawson
Saward Dawson was originally introduced to ENERCON through the Russell Bedford International network of accountants and business advisors.
Saward Dawson has been working with ENERCON over a number of years advising on GST, income tax and accounting matters while also providing consulting services on particular transactions and projects. Major projects have included the migration of the Australian subsidiary of ENERCON to SAP, where we provided tax technical support. Part of our role has also been to liaise with ENERCON customers and suppliers on WEC installation and commissioning projects concerning relevant accounting, taxation and GST compliance matters.
The future of renewable energy in Australia and around the world will become increasingly important over the next few years and decades. The solution of the world's energy problems will require people and organisations with long term vision and innovation. ENERCON is playing a significant role around the world and, having contributed so successfully to the Grasmere Wind Farm and other projects here in Australia. To learn more about ENERCON, visit their website. Think wind power, think ENERCON: Energy for the World.