850 turbines adopted

» By | Published 12 May 2010 |

EWEA’s campaign to get every turbine in Europe adopted is racing ahead with more than 800 turbines now adopted. A record 142 turbines have been adopted in one of wind energy’s pioneering countries – Spain, while another of Europe’s wind energy giants – Denmark – trails far behind with just 20 adoptions.

No other countries have yet reached the 100 turbine mark, but the UK is not too far off with a total of 89 turbines adopted.

The northern-most turbines to be adopted are on the Faroe Islands, while a handful of turbines have been adopted in southern Europe, in regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

The voting contest is also hoting up with one turbine in Belgium receiving a massive 121 votes. This turbine in Lanaken, eastern Belgium, produces 4,600 MW of electricity, saving 2,631 tonnes of CO2 a year.

Have you adopted a turbine yet? Click here to see more.

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Japan to experience massive growth in offshore wind over the next decade

» By | Published 11 May 2010 |

In another positive development for the global offshore wind industry, it appears that the world’s number two economy is getting ready to harness a massive amount of additional offshore wind energy to help power its electricity-hungry population, promote jobs and spending in its coastal regions, and reduce greenhouse gasses.

Kyodo News International was reporting on the weekend that a senior Japanese government panel has drafted a plan calling for huge offshore wind farms capable of producing at least 1,000 megawatts of power to be built by 2020.

Relying on a source familiar with the proposal, the news agency said the panel — headed by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama — hopes to work out financing and other issues related to the plan within a year.

The government is hoping that developing both offshore wind farms and specialty vessels required for their construction will create many jobs in a variety of industries, ranging from steel manufacturing to machinery components, the news agency quoted the source as saying.

Noting that Japan, which saw its first offshore wind farm begin operations in 2004, lags far behind Europe in promoting offshore wind energy, the source added the government will likely consider a number of support measures including subsidies or loans for research and development, as well as construction of power generation equipment.

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Offshore wind power: a chance for change

» By | Published 11 May 2010 |

GWEC

As BP continues to search for ways to plug the leak that occurred three weeks ago at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico spilling more than three million gallons of crude oil into the ocean, it is becoming more and more clear that the world needs alternative solutions.

Offshore wind power can provide part of the answer to the dilemma of reducing our dependence on finite and polluting fossil fuels. In Europe alone the winds blowing across the seas are an abundant energy source which can be transformed into green electricity that does not emit CO2, and will reduce Europe’s growing dependence on imported fossil fuels, creating thousands of sustainable jobs in the process.

There are currently 830 offshore wind turbines now installed and connected to the grid, totalling 2,063 MW in 39 wind farms in nine European countries. Some 17 offshore wind farms are under construction in Europe, totalling more than 3,500 MW, with just under half being constructed in UK waters. In addition, a further 52 offshore wind farms have won full consent in European waters, totalling more than 16,000 MW, with just over half of this capacity planned in Germany. And the growth rates are impressive: In 2009, the market grew by 54% compared to 2008. In 2010 the market grew by an even more considerable 75% compared to the previous year.

EWEA has a target of reaching 230 GW of wind power by 2020 which will include 40 GW of offshore power. This is a challenging but very feasible goal. By 2030, just ten years later, we envisage some 150 GW of offshore wind power.

If all offshore wind projects in their various stages of planning are added up, there are already some 100 GW of offshore wind projects in addition to existing farms. If these become fully functioning wind farms, they would produce 10% of the EU’s electricity while also avoiding 200 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

Europe must now use the coming decade to prepare for the large-scale exploitation of its biggest indigenous energy resource – offshore wind – overcoming the seemingly significant obstacles – including underwater electricity grids and cables, building the harbours and barges capable of facilitating the installation of offshore wind farms – in the path of its development.

As the US and China are already beginning to show, Europe’s success in offshore wind power can then be repeated the world over.

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Feeling lucky about Googling towards a wind-driven future

» By | Published 07 May 2010 |

Described as the most often used search engine on the Web, Google is constantly inventing new tricks for the way human beings work, play, research, communicate and learn while making a staggering amount of money for its parent company, Google Inc.

As befitting a company whose unofficial credo is “Don’t be evil,” it came as no surprise to learn that Google has just embraced emissions-free wind energy to further the company’s needs and help save the planet at the same time.

In a Google blog posting earlier this week that was headlined “Not merely tilting at windmills — investing in them too,” the company announced its first direct investment in a utility-scale renewable energy project consisting of two wind farms that generate 169.5 megawatts of power, enough to provide electricity to more than 55,000 homes.

Rick Needham said the North Dakota wind farms that were developed by NextEra Energy Resources will reduce the use of fossil fuels by harnessing the power of wind and delivering clean energy to the region.

“Through this $38.8-million investment, we’re aiming to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy — in a way that makes good business sense, too,” Needham said, adding a clean energy future requires effective policy, innovative technology and smart capital.

Investing in wind power, as Google has just learned, is definitely the opposite of evil and an innovative pathway to a healthier future.

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To what extent should we encourage wind in the overall energy mix?

» By | Published 05 May 2010 |

This month’s online Comment Visions forum centres exclusively on wind power, asking: to what extent should we encourage the growth of wind energy in our future energy mix? And the response is positive: from around the world, respondents are singing the benefits of wind power.

Kenneth Reed, founder of Natural Alternative Fuels inc, says that the wind, when harnessed is, “a natural tool that provides man with a clean solution to the problem of declining natural resources, competition (war) over existing resources, addiction to foreign oil, pollution of air and water, cancer and asthma causing emissions and global warming.”

Reed’s comments are echoed by David Hurwitt, Vice President of Optiwind, who says that wind is an, “endless resource that arrives for free and leaves no waste in its wake.”

EWEA’s COO Bruce Douglas points out that wind power is already part of the answer to the multiple climate, energy and employment crises in Europe. Wind is, “already expanding significantly and this growth must be encouraged until we reach 100% renewables in Europe. By seizing this opportunity now Europe will set an example for the rest of the world,” he says.

Backing Douglas, Michail Georgiev, manager at Energoconsult ltd, notes that, “wind is the only renewable source that has the technical and economical potential to reach between 40 and 50% from total energy production in the medium term.”

The President of the African Wind Energy Association, Hermann Oelsner, outlines wind power’s potential development advantages, “wind energy is particularly advantageous for the African continent because the philosophy behind the technology is in cohesion with the overall social and economic development strategies of most African nations.”

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