Satellite outage knocks out thousands of Enercon's wind turbines
Comment of the Day

March 08 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Satellite outage knocks out thousands of Enercon's wind turbines

This article from Reuters may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Germany's Enercon on Monday said a "massive disruption" of satellite connections in Europe was affecting the operations of 5,800 wind turbines in central Europe.

It said the satellite connections stopped working on Thursday, knocking out remote monitoring and control of the wind turbines, which have a total capacity of 11 gigawatt (GW).

"The exact cause of the disruption is not yet known. The communication services failed almost simultaneously with the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine," Enercon said in a statement.

The company said it had no further information on who or what may have caused the disruption.

Enercon has informed Germany's cybersecurity watchdog BSI and is working with the relevant providers of the satellite communication networks to resolve the disruption, which it said affected around 30,000 satellite terminals used by companies and organisations from various sectors across Europe.

Eoin Treacy's view

Priorities change. When prices are low consumers value choice and comfort. When prices are high, they value efficiency. When supply is threatened, they will value resiliency.

The newest batch of offshore wind turbines are the largest rotating machines ever built. They keep getting bigger because you gain 45% more generating capacity with a 19% increase in diameter. For these kinds of structures to be productive the world needs to be a quiet place.
These are remote locations so lengthy cables need to be laid. The turbines turn in unison to face the wind and that is controlled by satellite. How efficient will they be if the cables are cut or the satellites are hacked or shot down?
Resilience was briefly fashionable for companies before buybacks ramped back up in 2021. It is likely to have a second coming now that supply chains have been upended again and oil and gas being used as weapons.

It doesn’t matter whether this outage was the result of Russian hacking. It should be enough of a cautionary signal to make governments think twice about closing coal fired power stations. At least they are resilient dumb simple pieces of infrastructure.

Regardless, Europe is doubling down on renewables with its plan to avoid importing Russian gas. Vestas Wind is resurgent as it bounces from the region of the 100-day MA.

Orsted has also rallied impressively.

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