Talks aimed at reaching a new international agreement to limit and then reduce emissions caused by greenhouse gases were set to ramp up to a higher level today as national environment ministers joined the ongoing negotiations in Cancun.
Remi Gruet, the European Wind Energy Association’s regulatory affairs advisor who is attending the two-week-long United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference, said Monday that observers are wondering if the ministers can take the negotiations to a higher level than the first week of talks.
“The mood of many negotiators now is they don’t know what to do,” Gruet told me.
It may look like one machine, but the average wind turbine is made up of 9,000 different components. Each of these needs to be manufactured, transported and put together, and a blip or delay at any one stage can affect the whole process.
The supply chain is crucial to the wind energy industry, with 75% of the total cost of energy for a wind turbine is related to upfront expenses such as the cost of the turbine, foundation, electrical equipment and grid connection.
Many of the materials used in wind turbines – such as stainless steel, aluminum, glass and carbon fibres — are also required in other industries, making a smoothly operating wind power supply chain all that more important.
There’s a great deal of exposure and chatter on the internet these days to two recent North American newspaper columns that are highly positive of wind power when it comes to public health issues.
One of the columns, published 26 November in The Oregonian, noted that “in fact, with no air or water pollution emissions, wind energy is essential to reducing public health impacts from the energy sector.”
Written by scientists Robert J. McCunney, Robert Dobie and David M. Lipscomb, the column went on to say that “while there are legitimate issues worth debating with regard to wind energy development, public health impacts are not among them.”