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Über dieses Buch

This book discusses sustainable development decision-making. Focusing on decisions to invest in wind turbine technology as part of a corporation’s CO2 emission reduction strategy, it presents a new evaluation framework, based on the triple bottom line framework widely used by businesses to communicate their adherence to corporate social responsibility. This new framework allows the evaluation of strategic corporate decisions to invest in wind turbines to mitigate global warming in the context of a corporation’s social responsibility, and includes an objective measurement stage to add rigor to the evaluation process.

The book describes the use of measured data from wind turbine projects to both develop and validate the methodology, and also identifies key enablers and barriers as businesses attempt to successfully integrate corporate social responsibility into their overall business strategy.

Given its scope, the book appeals to postgraduate students, researchers, and business professionals interested in the environmental impact of corporations. Featuring case studies from Ireland, it is particularly relevant to audiences within Europe.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
This discusses the background to the sustainable development philosophy with a specific focus on the role of wind turbines in the efforts to decarbonise the economy. There is a global drive towards a ‘green economy’. Traditional electricity generation has focused on the burning of fossil fuels to power the majority of the generating plant. Wind turbine technology is expected to reduce our dependence on fossil-fuel-driven electrical generators. This expected fossil-fuel reduction lessens the amount of harmful Green-House Gases, mainly CO2, emitted into the atmosphere. One of the weaknesses in the sustainable development sphere is identified, namely, the methods by which the effectiveness of wind turbines is measured. This study aims to develop an evaluation framework to address this weakness. A step-by-step guide as to how the framework is developed is described in this chapter.
Tony Kealy

Chapter 2. Corporate Social Responsibility Through a Wind Turbine Lens—A Literature Review

Abstract
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) remains an ambiguous concept. Reasons for this ambiguity include (i) it crosses into several academic disciplines, (ii) it is not adequately taught in educational institutions, (iii) globalisation has challenged the roles and responsibilities of employees, corporations, and the state. Despite the ambiguity perception, this extensive literature review found that CSR and its related concept Sustainable Development (SD) is generally considered to be concerned with business decision-making that considers economic, social, and environmental factors. Of these three distinct, yet interconnected, factors this study found that there is a substantial body of research assessing the relationship between CSR and financial (economic) business performance and CSR and human (social) aspects but less so assessing the CSR/environmental connection. Research on this understudied aspect is limited, and the literature significantly appears to indicate a lack of integrity or universality, specifically concerning wind turbine projects. Some studies claim that this may be due to the lack of a systematic analytical framework.
Tony Kealy

Chapter 3. An Irish Perspective on Sustainable Development

Abstract
This chapter investigates the current status of sustainable development from an Irish perspective using qualitative analysis on data obtained from semi-structured interviews. The thirteen interviewees were chosen to represent a broad spectrum of influential organisations in Irish society and included private businesses, charity organisations, faith-based organisations, agricultural associations, and government representatives. Analysis of the findings confirmed that the three well-established vital elements that must be considered if organisations are to be developed in a sustainable way, namely, Profit, People, and Planet are still valid. However, this research also found that there were other elements necessary for developing sustainable organisations. To this end, a unique, sustainable organisational development theory emerged from the research findings of this study. This theoretical model identifies four specific vital components that are essential inputs to developing sustainable organisations. These four input components were deemed by the research subjects as critical elements in the ethos and policies of their organisations to maintain sustainability. They included a for-profit ethos, a not-for-profit ethos, an ethical/moral/spiritual ethos and government policy. The study found that organisational leaders guided by a robust moral/ethical compass who incorporate the input components of this model into their organisational vision and strategy maintain a strong focus on sustainable development.
Tony Kealy

Chapter 4. Financial Appraisal of a Micro-Generation Wind Turbine with a Case Study in Ireland

Abstract
This chapter evaluates the economic benefits to be gained by installing a micro-generation wind turbine for a customer with a three-phase electrical supply requirement on an agricultural premise. The wind turbine is a 10-kW three-phase synchronous type and is embedded with the national electricity supply. It is anticipated that the energy units supplied by the wind turbine offsets, and reduces, the number of energy units imported from the National Grid. The evidence for the claims made in this paper is obtained by using actual empirical data collected from the installed equipment over three years. The objective is to accurately appraise the financial investment using real data downloaded from the renewable plant. There appear to be minimal studies conducted into this type of empirical research, possibly because the renewable energy sector is in the infancy stage in the host country, Ireland. There are some wind energy installations with financial appraisal techniques based on modelled data, which may, or may not, be accurate. The study concludes by claiming that the economic benefits of the wind energy turbine installation displayed disappointing results when compared to predicted benefits based on modelled data.
Tony Kealy

Chapter 5. Post-connection Financial Performance Analysis of a Four-Turbine, 3.5-MW, Wind Farm in Ireland

Abstract
With many electricity markets worldwide deregulated or in the process of deregulation, the opportunity for smaller independent generators to provide power to their local power system has increased. For smaller independent wind developers assessing the feasibility of a large-scale wind farm project is vitally important due to significant risk associated with the investment. This paper presents a longitudinal case study of a 3.5-MW wind farm situated in the North East of Ireland, utilising multiple sources of empirical data obtained over three years following commissioning. The findings indicate that an average yearly capacity factor of 34% was recorded from the turbines providing for a simple payback period of 6.7 years. It would appear from this case study that site selection, electricity market conditions, the quality of the control system and the competencies of the design/installation/commissioning company all contributed to the satisfactory results.
Tony Kealy

Chapter 6. Stakeholder Outcomes in a Wind Turbine Investment: Is the Irish Energy Policy Effective in Reducing GHG Emissions and Electricity Costs by Promoting Small-Scale Embedded Turbines in SMEs?

Abstract
As a member state of the European Union (EU), Ireland has adopted an energy policy which includes promoting wind-powered electricity generators as an economically viable, GHG-reducing alternative to environmentally damaging fossil-fuel-driven electrical generators. This longitudinal, inductive in-depth study investigates the outcomes for the government, investors, and other stakeholders involved in a 300-kW wind turbine project investment by a Small–Medium Enterprise (SME) based in rural Ireland. A case study/action research methodology is used to acquire and analyse quantitative numerical data from multiple sources, including electrical power and energy meters, historical electricity bills and company sustainability reports. Numerous site visits were organised, where the researcher familiarised himself with the culture and experiences of the employees in the participant company. The study found that the installation of the 300-kW wind turbine did not contribute significantly to the EU-binding Green-House-Gas (GHG) national emission reduction targets and had minimal positive effects on the electricity costs for the business. Indeed, the turbine appears to have significant adverse effects such as a need for an increased Maximum Import Capacity and deterioration in the utility power factor. Empirical measurements on the wind turbine output identified a constantly ramping power output signal. The findings also serve to question the effectiveness of the sustainability reporting framework. The number of energy units produced by the turbine was overstated in the SME’s sustainability report mainly due to undetected erroneous energy readings. Caution should be exercised when business owners select alternative energy providers who claim to be experts in the energy field but may have limited knowledge in this area of wind energy. This exploratory study is of benefit to all stakeholders, including the national government who are promoting wind energy as a significant player in the overall energy policy as they target a reduction of Green-House-Gas emissions.
Tony Kealy

Chapter 7. Key Enablers/Inhibitors in the Corporate Social Responsibility—Business Strategy Integration Space

Abstract
Despite the potentially positive image and reputation implications of businesses implementing strategies in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), there appears to be a dearth of companies able to play a leading role in advancing CSR activities to upper levels within the cognisance of the organisation. The vast majority of businesses appear to be merely complying with national regulations in their business sustainability efforts. This study aims to investigate the key enablers and inhibitors in assisting businesses integrate their CSR with their business strategy. A 17-question online survey was administered to many national and global companies in a range of industries. The resulting qualitative and quantitative data from 86 respondents was analysed and is presented in tabular, graphical, and text form. Quantitative responses were presented in the form of descriptive statistics, while qualitative data was analysed and presented thematically. The study found that the two main enablers/inhibitors to businesses integrating CSR with their corporate strategy were (i) improved measuring/reporting techniques for evaluating CSR outcomes (ii) informed education/knowledge in all aspects of CSR. Both academia and the business world can contribute and assist in confronting the two main issues and guide businesses as they attempt to integrate CSR more closely with the business model of their organisation. The study should help to encourage business and engineering schools in academic institutions in designing educational programmes to include CSR learning outcomes to their programmes.
Tony Kealy

Chapter 8. Findings

Abstract
This chapter discusses the main findings associated with the research study. The main findings are focused on companies who decide to invest in wind turbine technologies as part of their environmentally friendly initiatives and need to evaluate those decisions. Methods to assess such decisions robustly are recounted. Results from the 10-kW, 300-kW, and 3.5-MW wind turbine initiatives are discussed considering the novel evaluation framework. Wind turbine economic and environmental outcomes are presented and are found to be disappointing. By TBL definition, if economic and environmental sustainability outcomes are not attained, the social aspect of sustainability is also not accomplished. There appears to be a groupthink consensus that the installation of wind turbines guarantees sustainability success, an idea that is tested in this current book. The measurement of sustainability outcomes and an increase in sustainability/CSR knowledge are identified as key enabling factors in the attempts to more closely integrate corporate sustainability strategy with the overall business strategy.
Tony Kealy

Chapter 9. Conclusions

Abstract
The conclusions of the research study are discussed in this chapter. Sustainable development/CSR is an ambiguous, subjective concept. However, every decision made in the domain of sustainability/CSR must incorporate economic, environmental, and social components. Only decisions that contribute positively to the three individual, yet interlinked, components enable organisations to develop sustainably. The framework, developed and presented in this book, allows decisions to invest in renewable energy technologies, such as wind turbines, to be evaluated robustly. As part of the data measurement stage prescribed in the framework, the power quality measurement aspect exposed a persistently varying, short-term, power output from the generator, regardless of the local wind speed. These short-term variations were calculated in this book as ‘coefficient of variation’ values. Significant coefficient of variation values reduces the usefulness of the wind turbine electrical generators in offsetting CO2 emissions associated with embedded fossil-fuel-driven generators. Large power output wind turbines have higher capacity factor values than smaller output wind turbines. The payback periods ranged from twenty-three years for a 10-kW synchronous, three-phase, wind turbine to 6.7 years for a 3.5-MW induction-type (DFIG) wind farm. Measurement of sustainability outcomes and improved sustainability education are crucial factors for intensification in practical sustainability business culture. Future research is recommended in suitable applications for wind turbines whose power output is continuously changing, with some element of smoothing built in to the processes.
Tony Kealy

Backmatter

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