2012 is a big year for the European Wind Energy Association: we will celebrate our 30 year anniversary! Did you know that in 1982, when EWEA was founded, wind turbine size was just 55 kW and there was only one wind farm in Europe? (A five-turbine wind farm on the Greek island of Kyathos.)
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s three countries dominated Europe’s wind energy scene: Denmark, Germany and Spain, and in 1984 the first European Wind Energy Conference (EWEC – now known as the EWEA Annual Event) was held in Hamburg. At that point, the EU had a cumulative wind power capacity of 800 MW.
By Anni Mikkonen, Finnish Wind Power Association
Finland has one of the lowest amounts of wind energy capacity in Europe but the situation could be changing. Anni Mikkonen from the Finnish Wind Energy Association tells the EWEA blog why…
Finland’s target for 2020 is to meet 38% of the country’s energy consumption with renewable energies. The main renewable energy sources to meet this target are biomass, wind power and hydro power. In the national renewable energy action plan, the target for wind is 2,500 MW in installed capacity. It is not much compared to the leading wind energy countries in Europe, but it is an ambitious target for a country that has currently got a very modest wind energy capacity – only 198 MW.
Dumped equipment at Chernobyl
Japan is much in the news this week after the Asian nation shut down the last of its 54 nuclear reactors for safety tests and maintenance following last year’s earthquake and tsunami which triggered a meltdown of the Fukushima reactor.
Wind power and other renewables are expected to help fill some of the gap caused by shutting down Japan’s nuclear industry, which had provided more than 30% of electricity for the world’s number three economy.
Over one billion people worldwide live without access to safe drinking water, and the pressures of climate change and a rising global population mean this figure is likely to increase. A French wind company is trying to alleviate this problem – inventing the first wind turbine that can produce drinking water by condensing the air.
If you think the UK media report mostly anti-wind stories you could be right. But news just out could help to stem the flow of wind power criticism. Wind farms generate millions for the economy and create thousands of jobs, a new UK government-backed study has found.
The study followed the fortunes of 18 wind farms and found that communities around those farms received around £84 million (€104 million) in 2011, with 1,100 local jobs supported. BiGGAR Economics, an independent UK consultancy and author of the study, said that in total Britain’s onshore wind farms supported 8,600 jobs and were worth £548 million (€680 million) to the UK economy last year.