Wind power on Earth Day

» By | Published 23 Apr 2010 |

US President Barack Obama was promoting wind power on Earth Day. Saying that Americans have worked hard to clean up the environment in the past 40 years, Obama said there is still much to do.

As a result and calling it a “historic step,” he said the Department of the Interior is announcing for the first time the leasing of federal waters to projects such as wind power facilities and other clean technologies that can generate green electricity, especially off the east coast of the US.

“It is estimated that if we fully pursue our potential for wind energy on land and offshore, wind can generate as much as 20% of our electricity by 2030 and create . . . 250,000 jobs in the process, jobs that pay well and provide good benefits,” Obama said.

“It’s a win-win. It’s good for the environment and great for the economy,” he said.

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Green issues on UK election agenda

» By | Published 23 Apr 2010 |

With the UK elections just around the corner, political battles on everything from health care to jobs are intensifying. So too, according to the Guardian’s correspondent George Monbiot, is debate on green issues.

Moreover, he notes a welcome shift: High-ranking politicians finally have a depth of knowledge about climate change and the environment that goes beyond superficial platitudes on saving the planet. “The bumbling amateurs of yesteryear have been replaced by serious-minded geeks,” Monbiot says in a Guardian article.

And wind energy is an integral part of this debate.

Monbiot notes that at a pre-election hustings, Ed Miliband, UK Secretary of State for energy and climate change, and Greg Clark, shadow energy and climate change secretary, didn’t hesitate over the benefits of wind power, they simply debated an administrative issue: whether or not new wind farms should be approved locally or by central government.

As plans for new wind farms in the seas surrounding the UK take shape, it surely is good news for wind energy and our planet that climate change is no longer a token election issue.  

For the British Wind Energy Association’s election manifeso, click here.

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Military works with proposed North American wind farm projects

» By | Published 23 Apr 2010 |

Wind power supporters in the United States were told this week that the military understands the importance of the emissions-free technology.

General Victor E. Renuart, Jr., who is in charge of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, said the military is dedicated to both homeland defense and clean energy.

“We feel strongly that alternate [energy] sources are vital to our nation’s future,” Renault said in his commander’s blog. “I also know that the defense of our homelands is an equally vital responsibility. I honestly believe that both can be achieved together.”

Norad is charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America. The Norad website says aerospace warning includes the monitoring of man-made objects in space, and the detection, validation, and warning of attack whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles. Aerospace control includes ensuring air sovereignty and air defense of the airspace of Canada and the United States.

According to Associated Press, construction of a 338-turbine wind farm in Oregon has been put on hold while experts study whether it will interfere with a nearby radar station. AP said the Federal Aviation Administration, with Air Force backing, issued a notice in March that effectively bars construction. The Defense Department asked the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory to investigate.

In his blog, Renault, who also directs the US Northern Command, said the military appreciates “the importance of projects that enable the energy independence of both the US and Canada, and we fully support their development.”

The general said planners regularly evaluate proposed development projects such as wind farms, hotels, or other structures to assess whether they could hinder the military’s ability to detect and provide the warning and defense necessary to keeping North America safe.

Renault also said military planners suggest potential solutions to possible problems discovered in such development proposals.

“These situations really don’t happen all that frequently,” he said.

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US poll shows wind power is gaining fans

» By | Published 22 Apr 2010 |

Could it be that despite the economic recession, despite attacks by climate change skeptics, despite ferocious lobbying by the coal, oil and natural gas industries, despite NIMBYism, trust in American wind power is finally beginning to win the day?

Encouraging results from a new poll done in Nebraska, located on the Great Plains almost smack dab in the middle of the United States, suggest that might just be happening.

In a story headlined Poll finds overwhelming support for wind power in Nebraska, the Lincoln Journal Star reported earlier this week that 79% of state voters want electric utilities to use renewable energy sources for at least 20% of their power generation.

Released by the Center for Rural Affairs, American Wind Energy Association, and Wind Coalition and Energy Foundation, the poll found 94% of Nebraska voters have favourable impressions of wind power and 69% had strong favourable impressions.

The Lincoln Journal Star quoted John Crabtree of the Center for Rural Affairs as saying those polled supported renewables supplying 20% of future electricity generation out of concern over rising energy prices and national dependence on foreign oil.

The non-profit Center for Rural Affairs said the Global Strategy Group poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

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Mood remains positive at EWEC

» By | Published 22 Apr 2010 |

Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council, yesterday expressed his delight that the wind industry has remained buoyant during the global recession. All the pundits predicted a downturn in the global wind industry, but in 2009 a lot of new capacity was added, he said.

By 2020, up to 12% of electricity could be supplied by wind energy, Sawyer claimed.

Speaking at EWEC 2010  in Warsaw, Sawyer said that the “strong political frameworks” in support of wind energy which are in place in the EU and China would further spur this growth, but he was more tentative about the US and Canada since local politics have dogged progress on renewable energy laws.

Looking to Africa, Sawyer predicted that the biggest demand for wind energy could emerge in South Africa. In the meantime, wind energy projects are being built in Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania. Over in Latin America, Sawyer said his bet was on Brazil.

Just like Sawyer’s outlook, the mood here at EWEC remains positive with even more people arriving today. Many people have defied the travel disruption and are currently browsing the poster exhibition, milling around the exhibition stands and attending the conference sessions at EWEC.

Talking to some of them, who made it here despite all the odds, reveals an impressive level of determination.

Naoki Hirai and Nakakishi Yuichi from NGK were in London when the volcanic eruption began to send plums of smoke into the skies, and so were able to replace colleagues due to fly into to Warsaw from Japan, making their way across Europe by train.

Their journey was shorter than that of Francisco Gamberte from Ingeteam , however, who drove from Pamplona in Spain, spending 50 hours on the road.

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