Lost in the excitement of last week’s EWEA 2011 Annual Event in Brussels was a press release from the American Bird Conservancy noting that at least 500 million birds are killed in the US each year by cats.
A comparison of that figure to the 440,000 birds reportedly killed annually in the US by collisions with wind turbines surely must put into perspective the anti-wind lobby’s ardently exaggerated claim that birds are overly threatened by turbines.
That’s because the numbers tell the tale: In the US, each year wind turbines kill 0.088% of the birds killed by house cats.
The problems caused by a lack of water are well documented – the difficulty of growing crops, of washing, of sheer survival in many areas of the world. Images of parched, cracked earth have become sadly familiar. Even in the affluent west, “water restrictions” are often put in place in the summer months to avoid a shortfall.
The global power sector is the largest industrial water user of all, yet this is chiefly due to water-guzzling fossil fuels and nuclear, while wind power uses less than nearly any other power generation technology, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) is emphasising on UN World Water Day (22 March).
With over 8,500 participants, the EWEA 2011 Annual Event is “officially the biggest ever”, EWEA Chief Executive Christian Kjaer announced last night at the conference dinner, held at the impressive ‘Tour et Taxis’ venue.
With the event due to draw to a close later today, I went to have a walk around the exhibition to soak up the atmosphere this morning.
Although Thursday is the quietest day of the Event, there still seemed to be plenty of business going on as I wandered past the array of stands. And although I’ve been writing about the size of the halls for a while now, the reality of the “13,000m2 of floor space” only hits when you spend over ten minutes getting from one end to the other.
The negative impacts of offshore wind power can be avoided altogether or mitigated through proper planning, people attending a panel session at the EWEA2011 Annual Event heard Thursday.
Dan Wilhelmsson of the Swedish Secretariat for Environmental Earth System Sciences added that the offshore wind power sector can even be positive for the local marine environment.
Wilhelmsson said a recent report he and others produced for the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources reviewed 32 different environmental issues associated with offshore wind and found eight required special attention.
“When we talk about the electricity sector, not the total energy consumption, but electricity, than I think by 2050 we’ll have 100% renewables in Europe. I think that is perfectly doable,” said EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard today at the EWEA 2011 Annual Event.
She was speaking at a press conference held straight after a panel discussion on a 100% renewables vision for 2050. The panel discussion was marked by heated debate on the role of the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS).