Using Concrete Wind Turbine Towers in Caribbean
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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