Pierre Tardieu, EWEA
By Pierre Tardieu, Co-Chair of the Policies and Markets track at EWEA 2013
Some wind energy markets across Europe are experiencing damaging changes to their national support schemes which are counterproductive since they set back the prospect of renewables being able to compete without support in the near future.
Italy is in the process of going from a tradable green certificate mechanism to a combination of Dutch auction for installations over 5 MW and a feed-in tariff under 5 MW. This represents a major challenge for the sector which will have to adapt to the new scheme in a matter of months (the new scheme will be effective as of 2013).
The prospect of cheap natural gas pushing wind power and other renewables off the green energy agenda while increasing the risk of global temperatures climbing to “catastrophic” levels was raised in two European cities Thursday.
In Berne, the chief economist for the International Energy Agency (IEA) was reported as saying a new “golden age of gas” could thwart international efforts to mitigate climate change as governments dealing with the ongoing economic crisis consider switching to the cheaper fossil fuel.
In London, the chairman of the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) sent a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron saying he was concerned about the UK Government’s statement “that it sees gas as continuing to play an important role in the energy mix well into and beyond 2030 … [not] restricted to providing back up to renewables.”
It may not become the norm, but some wind turbine suppliers are beginning to switch to concrete from steel in the construction of wind turbines, according to a story in this month’s Wind Directions magazine.
The story also says that while steel has become accepted as the ideal material for turbine towers, suppliers are now starting to consider concrete because smaller pre-cast sections are easier to produce, can be transported rapidly, and assembled quicker onsite.
Christian Hinsch, of German renewable development company JUWI, said an extremely high tower will have quite substantial bending movements at its base.
A new US scientific study released in the past few days reveals that wind energy’s vast potential could more than meet humankind’s escalating power needs throughout the 21st century.
Published on Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change, the study says the Earth’s winds contain so much energy they could be “a primary source of near-zero-emission electric power as the global economy continues to grow” between now and 2100.
Researched by three Californian scientists, the study estimates the amount of power that can be extracted from both surface and high-altitude winds.
“Historically, wind turbines are placed on Earth’s surface, but high-altitude winds are usually steadier and faster than near-surface winds, resulting in higher average power densities,” said the study, called Geophysical limits to global wind power.
Delphine Batho, French Minister for Ecology
The French minister for ecology has promised her government will set down stable rules for renewable energies as the wind industry demands action to save it from the “critical” state is has been in since May when France’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to rule whether the country’s premium purchase price for onshore wind constituted state aid.
“We will define stable rules for renewable energies for the duration of the government’s five-year mandate,” says Delphine Batho in the September issue of the French sustainable development magazine Terra Eco. She admits that “in the past few years, the incessant changes to rules, purchase prices, moratoriums etc., have profoundly destabilised” the industry. These “rules” are expected to be discussed at a conference on the environment to be hosted by the government on 14-15 September.