Using Concrete Wind Turbine Towers in Caribbean

  • Zaffar Khan
  • Atiyyah Khan
  • Avinash Omadath
Keywords: Wind Turbine

Abstract

Trinidad and Tobago has been adversely impacted by an economic downturn resulting from depressed oil and gas prices. The country, once a net exporter of oil, must now import oil to provide fuel for its vehicles and industries. This contributes to the country’s acute foreign exchange problem. The country is also experiencing a natural gas shortage causing curtailments for liquefied natural gas (LNG). A notable amount of natural gas is used for power generation. Moreover, the petroleum industry which includes multinational corporations, state-owned oil and gas companies plus foreign and local service companies, has reduced their total employment.

One solution is to use renewable energy, particularly wind and solar power, to generate electricity. This has promising benefits as the country’s gas reserves can instead be used for exportable petrochemical products to generate foreign exchange.

An issue with developing wind power is the greater cost of steel towers and their shorter lifecycle. This article proposes the use of locally manufactured precast concrete towers for wind turbine generators (WTGs) rather than using imported steel towers. This article explores the benefits and disadvantages of this option from the following perspectives:

• Using local resources, labour and raw materials

• Engineering design considerations

• Transportation considerations

• Costs and economic considerations

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Author Biographies

Zaffar Khan

Zaffar Khan is director for the MBA program in sustainable energy management at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business, University of the West Indies. He completed the executive education program in competition and strategy at Harvard Business School. He has won several international awards including the Individual Achievement Award 2014 from the Energy Institute of the UK and the Energy Professional Development Award for Latin America from the AEE in 2015. He also won an award for academic and applied research from the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago in 2014 and 2015. He is a senior member of the AEE, vice president of the Trinidad and Tobago Chapter of the AEE as well as the vice president of the Energy Institute, Caribbean. Email: zaffar.khan@fac.gsb.tt.

Atiyyah Khan

Atiyyah Khan is currently a consultant with Econsultants Trinidad Limited. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of the West Indies and a Masters in industrial innovation entrepreneurship and management from the University of Trinidad and Tobago. She is also an AEE Certified Energy Manager. For the past seven years she has been a lecturer with the Ministry of Education in Trinidad, teaching physics and mathematics. Email: Atiyyah@ gmail.com.

Avinash Omadath

Avinash Omadath, an engineer by profession, passed the CEM exam in 2015. He holds an MBA in sustainable energy management from the University of the West Indies, Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business. Mr. Omadath is an adjunct faculty member in the department of engineering, University of Trinidad and Tobago.

References

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Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (2016). https://www.pci.org (accessed 5

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Portland Cement Association (2016). http://www.cement.org (accessed 12 March

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World Steel Association (2012). Steel solutions in the green economy: Wind turbines.

Casey, T. (2015). Warren Buffett gives a gigantic concrete wind turbine tower to

Iowa.

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Articles