Wind energy’s contribution to Belgian GDP has risen by 69% in four years (2007-2011), new findings show. This is a rate far higher than the growth of GDP itself, making wind energy a catalyst for Belgium’s economic recovery. The wind sector brought €335.3 million to the Belgian economy in 2011.
The figures come from a Deloitte study which also finds that national wind energy jobs have increased by 74% while the overall employment rate has gone up by just 3.7% (a figure 20 times lower) since 2007.
Despite the on-going global economic slowdown, growth predictions about China’s wind power sector are optimistic. On Monday, the deputy director general of China’s National Energy Administration acknowledged that wind energy is the third largest source of electricity in the world’s most populous nation after thermal and hydro power.
“Wind power has become the third-largest electric power in China,” Liu Qi said. “There is no electric power to substitute the position of wind power as number three, following thermal power and hydropower.”
A press release noted that China’s current energy policy says that wind power in the nation will be developed efficiently because it “is the non-hydro renewable energy with the biggest possibility of large-scale development and market utilisation at the moment.”
Money. We’d all like to have more of it. But times are hard and finance is difficult to come by – a fact the wind energy sector is no stranger to.
When I first joined EWEA in 2009 wind energy growth rates were sky-rocketing – with wind capacity growth outpacing growth rates in coal, gas and oil in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Now, nearly four years later, growth rates have stabilised. Last year’s European statistics show stable growth rates in onshore wind energy, and high growth rates in offshore wind energy but the fact remains that 2013 and possibly beyond, will be tough.
Right at the end of last year, on 29 December, wind power in France covered a record 10% of the country’s electricity demand, the French blog “habitat durable” reported. France’s wind power fleet reached a power production equivalent to 5,982 MW – the same level as six nuclear reactors.
During the month of December in general, wind energy met 4% of France’s electricity needs, and in 2012 the average level was 3% – meeting the electricity needs of 6 million people.
“Wind energy production during recent weeks illustrates the characteristic trait of French wind energy: every year, wind energy production is higher during the coldest months,” the blog said.
The Capitol in Washington
It came a day late, but US politicians in Washington finally approved on Tuesday a major piece of legislation that would increase taxes only on the most wealthy Americans as well as extending the highly-successful Production Tax Credit (PTC) on wind power projects.
Backed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the bill was designed to stop the nation going over the so-called “fiscal cliff” 31 December because of planned tax increases for almost all Americans and aggressive program cutbacks.
One of the key elements of the bill was to keep promoting America’s quest for increased amounts of green energy. As such, it contained a provision to extend the PTC — a tax incentive that has been instrumental in driving growth in the rapidly-expanding US wind energy sector — through the end of 2013.