Wind energy began to receive attention as a new alternative fuel since 20 years ago and is growing as a booming global business model. Power efficiency and reliability has greatly been improved during the past 15 years to perform the role as an alternative resource that replaces existing energy sources.
Many suppliers and technological advancements are being introduced to provide quick installation of wind power generator around the world. Global wind power generation in the world has been continuously increasing for the past 10 years, accounting for over 30% of cumulative rate compared to total power generation. Global demand for wind power generation is gradually expanding due to restriction on carbon emission and environmental problems caused by increased greenhouse effect. Total wind power equipment capacity in 2008 was 120 GW (giga watt). The United States has largest market share in the world, followed by Germany, Spain and China that are progressively expanding their wind power equipment. Wind energy is receiving the spotlight with solar energy to replace fossil energy until 2020, as a means to reduce carbon dioxide emission and prevent further expansion of greenhouse effects.
About 20 assembly parts are attached on the head of wind power equipment. Tower supporting this head is installed at a height of 80 ~ 150 meters from the ground. Size of tower components (container, flange, and frame) is being increased to a width of 2.3 ~ 5.5 meters. Size of such components can be further enlarged with future development of wind power generation technology and increase in energy use. The top two manufacturers of wind power equipment components in the world are located in Korea, as well as small and medium companies being established since 2009. Interest on transportation of products to major consumers such as Europe and the United States is demanding changes in existing perspective on distribution.
The number one wind power equipment manufacturer in the world is company A (located in Jisa-dong, Gangseo-gu, Busan). This company is a free forging company that produces over 600,000 tons of wind power flange larger than 4.5 meters and exceeds annual sales of 300 billion won. From heating of original material until manufacture of finished products through forging and rough machining processes, materials must be transported 6.5 times on average. However, current traffic laws limit transportation by trucks up to a width of 2.3 meters unless a special permit on limited vehicles is obtained. Such limited vehicles can only be driven after midnight (00:00 ~ 06:00), which inevitably results in illegal drives. In fact, the company paid a fine of about 10 million won in 2010 on over-width vehicles. Considering the fact that there are 31 small and large corporations in Korea conducting similar businesses, size of total fines paid by these companies is probably beyond imagination.
Furthermore during marine transportation for exports, FR container (flatrack container) is designated as an over-width cargo. There are serious problems in loading, as well as transportation to docks. The foremost task of wind power companies is to find an international transportation route for stable and economic transportation of large sized wind power components to wind power complexes in the United States, Germany, Spain, and China that are responsible for 65% of global wind power generation market. Since about 7 ~ 9% of sales is appropriated as distribution expense, potential value of this study is expected to be greater than 100 billion won. While existing studies were limited to specific transportation methods for large sized products, this study attempts to focus on an international transportation route for general application. The purpose is not only to create profit for specific companies but also to secure stable competitiveness of wind power generator component manufacturers in Korea, in the midst of growing wind power market around the world.
Accordingly in this study, current transportation routes are classified into three types including access-priority route, economics-priority route, and convenience- priority route depending on distribution characteristics of wind power equipment in order to suggest transportation methods other than ships.
Reflection of distribution characteristics of wind power equipment on wind power capacity to be expanded until 2030 will contribute to development of individual manufacturers and to create national benefit through transportation route applicable to other large sized products such as large plant industry and shipbuilding industry.