Wind turbines waste much less energy than fossil fuels

» By | Published 10 Jul 2012 |

Wind energy opponents who say that producing electricity using the power of the wind is not efficient would do well to take a look at a new graphic published on the Guardian’s data blog using UK Government data. ‘Up in smoke: how energy efficient is electricity produced in the UK?’ shows that thermal sources of electricity – gas, coal, nuclear, waste/biomass, oil and other – lose massive amounts of energy as waste heat, compared to almost 0% for renewables.

Gas accounts for 48% of the UK’s electricity supply and, of the 372 Terra-Watt hours of electricity it produces per year, 54% of this is lost as heat. Coal, meanwhile, accounts for 28% producing 297 TWh, loses an even higher proportion – 66%. Nuclear – accounting for 16% of the energy supply with 162 TWh, loses 65% and oil – 3% of the supply with 51 TWh – loses 77%.

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Believing in the power of the wind

» By | Published 06 Jul 2012 |

By Megan Swieca

A group of about 500 wind energy enthusiasts assemble themselves to form a giant human wind turbine near the town hall of Poitiers, France, just as a flash mob bursts into dance and a bike rally trails through the city of Murmansk, Russia.

This is just a snippet of what took place on 15 June at two of the 230 Global Wind Day (GWD) event locations. The events, aimed to provide people with information about wind energy and celebrate its power, were vast in number and creativity.

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US debate over extending PTC continues to create wind power uncertainty

» By | Published 05 Jul 2012 |

Nancy Sutley, White House Council on Environmental Quality

As US citizens prepare for the summer season and federal politicians lobby for votes in the upcoming November election, an increasingly acrimonious debate over extending the nation’s main wind power incentive continues.

On Monday, Nancy Sutley, President Barack Obama’s principal environmental advisor and Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, joined other politicians in Saint Paul, Minnesota to highlight the need for Congress to extend the existing Production Tax Credit (PTC).

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Rotor diameter is key for offshore turbine designers

» By | Published 04 Jul 2012 |

Current wind turbine design is revolving around the 6 to 7 MW capacity range, with increasingly large rotor diameters.

But why go for a 7 MW turbine with a bigger rotor when a range of 3-5 MW designs are already available?

“There’s an offshore market kicking off,” Anders Bach Andersen of Vestas told Wind Directions magazine. “and in order to make that market reasonably competitive bigger turbines are needed. With bigger turbines you need fewer of them and you can reduce both capital and operating costs. But with fewer turbines you have potentially a smaller swept area at wind farm level so you need to compensate for that by equipping the machine with a larger diameter rotor.”

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The power and beauty of wind

» By | Published 03 Jul 2012 |

Chris Hopson

Comment by Recharge Editor-in-Chief Christopher Hopson.  Reproduced with kind permission of Recharge.

Opinion polls in many countries show that most people actually like the look of wind farms. There is even a strong body of evidence to suggest that wind farms encourage tourism through such things as trips to visitor centres.

As can be instantly seen from the display of winning photographs for the Global Wind Day competition published across our centre pages this week, not only do wind farms generate power, visually they can be very much in harmony with surrounding landscapes.

Only a vocal anti-wind minority, mainly supported by out-of-touch conservative politicians and right-wing businessmen such as failed US presidential hopeful Donald Trump, view wind farms as “monstrosities”.  The vast majority see wind as an exciting form of clean energy. Looking at the pictures, it’s easy to see why.

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