Wind turbine on display in central London

» By | Published 15 Jun 2010 |

London celebrated wind power in style this week with a 13.5m turbine right in the middle of Leicester Square, central London. Chris Huhne, UK Sectretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, visited the fully functioning turbine and said that wind energy is “at the heart of” the UK’s plans for renewable energy.

Adam Bell from EmbraceMyPlanet, a campaign to support renewable energy, said that the turbine will attract the eyes of the 200,000 people passing through Leicester Square on a daily basis. “Visitors will also be able to join the Embrace campaign, and support further take up of renewables.”

Wind farms across the country are open to the public this week, an occasion Huhne labelled as a chance to “raise awareness of the opportunities there are for energy security, jobs and business from the industry.”

The UK is approaching 5 GW of installed wind capacity; enough to power 3 million homes. “The UK is currently leading the world in offshore wind, and with over 40 GW of projects at various stages of development, wind energy is changing the way we are powering our households and businesses,” Bell said.

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Global Wind Day trip to offshore wind farm, Sweden

» By | Published 15 Jun 2010 |

By Guest blogger Stina Kindberg Piironen, Vattenfall Wind Power

Nearly 500 people braved the weather to experience Vattenfall’s Lillgrund Offshore Wind Farm from close-by on one of the twelve trips organised for Global Wind Day.

Another few hundred visitors stayed onshore and took part in an energy quiz, watched the Lillgrund movie and discussed energy efficiency with Vattenfall’s own energy expert in an orange marquee set up for the occasion on the quayside. Many also signed for a newsletter and went home with an energy-saving light.

The children were happy with their spinning paper windmills, and some of them also got a beach ball or a torch keyring with the Global Wind Day brand. Many interesting wind power-related discussions also took place answering questions such as: how much does a turbine’s foundation weigh? And, how much electricity is needed for an old refrigerator?

The second anniversary of the official opening of Lillgrund Offshore Wind Farm coincided with the Global Wind Day, a day when wind power producers are encouraged to open their wind farms to the public, to promote the benefits of wind energy and highlight the local support that is needed. Vattenfall’s Lillgrund Offshore Wind Farm is situated in the Öresund strait in Swedish waters between Sweden and Denmark.

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Turbine parachute jump in Austria

» By | Published 15 Jun 2010 |

With events taking place all over the country to celebrate wind power, Austria has embraced Global Wind Day. At one of the country’s main events, a crane measuring the same height as an average onshore turbine, lifted people up high to get a bird’s eye view of a wind farm.

Another spectacle took place in Lower Austria when a professional skydiver leapt from the top of a turbine, opened his parachute and sailed down to the watching crowd below.

Martin Fliegenschnee-Jaksch, from the Austrian Wind Energy Association, said the events that took place last weekend were a “huge success” attracting hundreds of people despite the scorching heat. More events are taking place this weekend in Upper Austria and Burgenland, he said, including a bike tour through a wind park and a wind power-themed cabaret.

The cars of the future – electric cars – were available for the public to try out at various locations across Austria in further celebration of Global Wind Day, and for children, events ranged from music to face painting.

At the main event in St Pöllen, there was a prize draw and the lucky winner won a trip in a hot air balloon over the Austrian countryside.

This week the Austrian Minister of Economics, Reinhold Mitterlehner, will inaugurate a new turbine at an existing wind farm. Fliegenschnee-Jaksch explained that this is significant since it is the first new turbine in Austria to be constructed for a few years.

For more infomation on wind energy in Austria (in German), click here.

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2010 another strong year for wind power

» By | Published 15 Jun 2010 |

Global Wind Day events in Brussels kicked off today with a conference at the foot of the 29.5m turbine blade in the middle of rond point Schuman. Christian Kjaer, CEO of EWEA, highlighted the fact that over the next few days around 220 Global Wind Day events will take place in 26 countries to celebrate and inform the public about the benefits of wind power.

At the conference EWEA also released its estimate for new wind power installations in 2010. Despite the ongoing economic crisis, the EU is set to have the same amount of new capacity this year as it did last year – around 10 GW.

“This is another strong year for wind power installations,” Kjaer said.

More striking is the fact that this year’s installations are based on orders that were placed during the financial crisis. New installations in 2009 were based on orders placed before the financial crisis.

Ingmar Wilhelm, Executive Vice President of ENEL – the sponsor of the blade exhibition – said that the crisis has helped “drive the industry to become more organised and efficient.” Wind power “really impacts the energy scenarios of today,” since it is now a mature energy source, he added.

Wind power has a “strong development path ahead of it. It will only improve its cost effectiveness and competitiveness,” Wilhelm said.

More good news for wind power: two countries have installed their first wind farms this year – Slovenia and Cyprus – making Malta the only EU country without wind power.

As for whether or not wind power will again top the table of new installed energy capacity (last year 39% of all new capacity was wind power, ahead of gas, coal and nuclear), Kjaer said it was “too early to tell.”

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Harnessing powerful trade winds will help Hawaii’s green energy revolution

» By | Published 11 Jun 2010 |

When tourists are planning a holiday in Hawaii they inevitably think of beautiful Pacific beaches kissed by year-round sunshine and surrounded by stunning arrays of magnificent tropical flowers. Local residents know a darker side of the state, however, one that involves being dependent on expensive, polluting, imported oil to supply about 90% of Hawaii’s energy.

As a result of being the most oil-dependent state in the US — reportedly four times more dependent than any of the other 49 states — Hawaii has embraced an exciting energy revolution that includes emissions-free wind power to help transform the way it meets its existing, and future, energy needs.

The state has set a goal of 70% clean energy through energy efficiency and renewable energies by 2030. Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative is already working to harness the state’s strong trade winds along with other renewable energies.

“Wind is plentiful on Hawaii’s islands,” notes the initiative web site. “In the past, ancient Hawaiians depended on the trade winds to sail their canoes. And for the people of Hawaii today, the wind holds tremendous potential as a clean, renewable energy source.”

The web site also says Hawaiian wind farms are already supplying green electricity to consumers on Maui and the Big Island, and plans are under way to install wind turbines on Lanai, Molokai, and Oahu.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has already published a map showing that Hawaii has wind resources consistent with utility-scale production. “Good-to-excellent wind resource areas are fairly evenly distributed throughout the islands,” the web site says the DOE map indicates.

As a way of achieving its green energy goals, the web site says Hawaii is now discussing building an undersea cable system to transmit electricity between Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, and possibly Maui in order to increase access to wind power and other renewable energy projects statewide, which could lead to consumer and business cost savings.

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