Research Proposal for the Viability and Establishment of a branch of Everlasting Energy Consulting Group (EECG) in Eastern Europe that will Provide Advice on Energy Conservation
Energy is a key resource to any firm and its conservation is important in the success of a business. The cost of energy is determined by the various types of energy available to the business. One of the least exploited forms of energy is wind. Wind power is one of the safest and reliable sources of energy, as its use does not pollute the environment. As a result, governments and environmental watch groups are encouraging big companies to invest more in wind power especially with the increased concern over global warming. The WindBelt is a technological invention that can harness wind power with efficiency, which can also be used for small-scale purposes. This is especially true for Eastern Europe where the use of wind power has increased. However, its widespread use is limited by the lack of appropriate technologies that will make it cheaper and hence available to the common person.
Energy is the force that drives civilizations since development cannot be achieved without it. Energy is affects consumption and quality of life of people who use it. For this reason, it is important to have sustainable, efficient, and cheap energy if economic growth is to be achieved. It therefore presents an opportunity to raise people’s standards of living and quality of life.
Technological advances have made it possible for man to exploit various sources of nature for his own good. The global climate change has been attributed to high dependence on fossil fuels as a source of energy. This has led to increased carbon emissions with the effect of build up in green house gases, which have degraded the ozone layer. There is therefore the need to adopt safer sources of energy in a bid to prevent a disaster, which might wipe out all forms of life from the earth. Wind technology has many advantages among them being that it is free of pollutants such as those generated by nuclear power stations whose wastes are highly toxic.
The use of wind power as an alternative source of energy, is taking root as can be seen through the increased interest it has drawn from governments as well as big corporations (New Energy World Network, 2009). Wind energy is harnessed using several techniques with movable wind turbines being the most common. The WindBelt is a new method for harnessing wind energy that was invented by Shawn Frayne. It has become popular, as it has been proven to be more economical than other technologies since it could produce power for as little as $1 per watt (Peters, 2009). The invention makes it possible to deliver energy at 4 cents per kilowatt-hour at a wind speed as low as 6 meters per second (Peters, 2009). The invention of the WindBelt is a major breakthrough in the use of wind power as this has enhanced its accessibility.
With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, in Eastern Europe, communism was dismantled and capitalism and its ideals promoted. The region, therefore, has many opportunities in that it has not fully transformed its systems into capitalist ones (Felbel, 2002). This creates room for investments since there is less competition compared to established capitalist states. Eastern Europe has shown to be an attractive place for investors in wind technologies and, with inventions such as the WindBelt; the technology has the potential of being the major source of energy in the region. This is because the area has good wind resource, which brings down the set up costs. In addition, there is a lot of enthusiasm for the use of wind power, which makes it easier to sell to the people (Murray, 2009).
This makes the region an important area for investment and hence consultants on wind technologies are likely to be in demand. The demand is likely to be fueled by the increased attention to global warming and climatic changes as indicated by floods in recent times in Eastern Europe. Therefore, wind technology-as characterized by WindBelt, that is cheap and sustainable, is bound to be marketable and influential in the future and hence the need to establish a consultancy in Eastern Europe.
III. Problem Statement
This research will seek to establish the viability of a consultancy on WindBelt technology in Eastern Europe. This is important given current developments in the region and the attractiveness of WindBelt technology as a source of power. From this research, the trends of the region regarding the need for new power technologies, current solutions being offered, and the ability of WindBelt technology to compete with other technologies will be established.
IV. Literature Review
Energy security and the need for sustainable energy have been identified as major challenges by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (2009). The need for cleaner sources of energy is a result of increased concerns over the amount of fossil energy reserves present and their sustainability. This has been reflected by the increased prices in the fuels and the concern over the climatic changes caused by them. More attention is therefore being paid to cleaner sources of energy such as wind energy and investment in this field is being encouraged through the provision of subsidies for the development of alternative energy sources.
Wind has become the fastest growing source of energy in the last two decades with the invention of enhanced technology to harness wind power. The technology ranges in size and uses with a single unit of the largest wind harnessing technology being able to provide energy for about 5,000 households. The amount of energy that could be harnessed from the wind globally is enough to power the world with the windiest places being those close to the shore. However, wind power can also be harnessed in the off shore areas including Central and Eastern Europe (Institute of Technical Thermodynamics, 2009).
In Poland and Romania, subsidies for power generated by wind are between 30 and 40 dollars per megawatt-hour. This has led to great interest among power generating companies including Iberdrola, Dong Energy, and Vertenfall. The attractiveness of the region for wind power investments is enhanced by the lower importation costs for machinery, which reduces the capital costs. In addition, winds in the region are strong, which, coupled with focus on land rather than offshore installations, makes them last longer and reduces the cost of installation (Murray, 2009). In 2008, 3% of all new energy capacity was from wind energy. This exceeded all other energy sources including coal, nuclear power, and gas power that are popular sources of power in the region. A directive by the European Union, which requires that 20% of energy be sourced form renewable sources by 2020, is one of the reasons for the growth. In addition, the rise in the cost of coal and oil has led to the need for alternative sources of energy (Aruvian, 2009).
In 2001, Eastern Europe was hit by massive floods, which led to the loss of lives and property. This was largely blamed on the build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and their negative effect on the climate. The floods cost the insurance industry about 3.2 billion dollars through compensation fees (Land, 2003). This highlighted the importance of changes in lifestyle especially with regard to energy use. Wind power, therefore, has great marketability given its cleanness and cheapness. The main leaders in the technology are Romania, Hungary, and Czech Republic. This increase has been accelerated by favorable policies and Romania, which had less wind power than Poland two years back, are now ahead of them though Poland started four years back. In the Czech Republic, 1.1 billion Euros has been invested in wind technology. This indicates a great interest in the use of wind energy and hence the need for a consultancy (Pop, 2009).
Currently, the Czech Republic has about 150 megawatts capacity in wind power while Hungary and Bulgaria have 127 and 158 megawatts respectively. Poland has the higher capacity with about 472 megawatts-which is 0.25% of its power needs (Aruvian, 2009b). This indicates the viability of wind power as a source of electricity and its capacity for growth in the future.
The advantages of the WindBelt technology, however, are limited by the fact that it use is limited to small-scale use. This is because its mechanical strength does not allow for larger versions of the model. In addition, the device is limited to lower wind speeds since it would not endure winds that travel at speeds greater than 50 meters per hour. These limitations make the technology unsuitable for heavy industrial needs. Therefore, the technology is suited for household use and for micro industrial use as a supplement to other energy sources (Peters, 2009).
Wind technology is therefore posited to be an area that will generate a lot of interest in the future as well as being an influential area of business. A consultancy dealing with wind technology especially in an area experiencing growth such as in Eastern Europe is bound to be profitable. Since the political, social and economic forces are positive for the establishment of such a consultancy, it is bound to be successful.
V. Objectives of the Research
- To analyze various wind technologies and their applicability with a bias in WindBelt technology
- Research on the energy efficient methods and their applicability in Eastern Europe with the intention of applying them in the region
- To study the wind power market especially in Eastern Europe with the intention of setting up a consultancy on wind power and WindBelt technology in particular
- To find out the viability of a profitable consultancy on wind power in Eastern Europe
VI. Significance of the Research
This research will be useful in helping establish a consultancy on wind power harnessing technology and energy conservation techniques. The business sense of the consultancy will also be looked at and its profitability will be established. A compilation of the best and most applicable energy saving methods will be done. These methods could be used in further research on establishing improving the techniques available for saving energy. This could prove useful in dealing with the global warming phenomenon and will help firms save energy, which eventually create a safer environment for future generations.
VII. Methods, Procedure and Data Sources
The methods to be used in this research will be based primarily on secondary sources of data and on research undertaken by scholars over the years. In addition, questionnaires will be sent to firms and their input will act as a guide to the research. Conclusions will also be drawn from the statistical treatment of mathematical data. The trends that prevail in the region will be sought from the questionnaires as well as from popular publications such as newspapers and magazines. The financial performance of firms based on their annual accounts and their efficiency in the use of energy will be looked at and comparisons made.
VIII. Expected Results and Conclusion
A strong correlation between energy use and the profitability of different firms is expected. Those firms that are give more attention to their use of energy re expected to record better performance as compared to those that do not. In addition, different methods that could be applied in different kinds of firms to achieve energy efficiency are expected to be found. From these results, the practicality of a consultancy on energy as a business will be established.
IX. Potential Cultural Effect
Considering the issues noted above, a discussion of any form of energy production is set to bring about a certain degree of connection with the culture and traditions of the society under study. In the case of Eastern European Countries, EECG would have the potential to reach individuals and groups alike with a positive influence towards going green. Indeed, clean and applicable energy, such as that from wind power should be adopted in place of the normal form of energy characterized by industrial manufacture of power (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, 2009). This provides a challenge to any consulting group in this, and any other, industrialized region. However, the interaction that a culture has with its environment is brought to the fore. Effective communication therefore becomes necessary not only as part of direct consultation with the stakeholders of the wind power project, but also as an outreaching interaction with the cultures and traditions found in Eastern European countries.
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