Renewables dominate headlines in Germany, UK, France

» By | Published 22 Feb 2013 |

It seems that energy policy has never been such a hot topic – at least judging by the huge media attention it is now receiving.

Today, and this week generally, has seen a blizzard of European media coverage of energy policy – with wildly differing perspectives, and arguably also in quality of reasoning.

Today in Germany, Environment Minister Peter Altmeier is strongly criticised in the heavyweight Suddeutsche Zeitung for “misleading” statements on the cost of renewables. It is claimed he exaggerates the cost and is not helping his country’s transition from nuclear to renewable energy.  Suddeutsche Zeitung accuses the Minister of creating uncertainty and fear.

In the UK the Daily Telegraph reports that an MEP has published a book attacking wind energy in Scotland. The newspaper highlights claims in the book about the amount of rental income gained by, often aristocratic, landowners from wind turbines erected on their land. The Times reported that “the MEP’s views remain outside the political mainstream north and south of the border”.


British PM tells India that wind power is a green growth industry

» By | Published 21 Feb 2013 |
UK P.M David Cameron

UK P.M David Cameron

Wind turbines and other green technologies should be promoted as one way of dealing with climate change, British Prime Minister David Cameron said this week during a trip to India to encourage increased business ties with the UK.

“All over the world governments are not doing enough,” Cameron was quoted in the Guardian as saying. “We are not on track to deal with climate change and make sure our policies are sustainable.”

The newspaper also said Cameron told an audience in Mumbai that emissions-free green technologies like wind power are economic growth items.

The Guardian story added that Bloomberg New Energy Finance recently noted that India “now leads the world in clean tech investment growth, racking up $10.3 bn in the sector in 2011.”


European Parliament takes step closer to boosting the price of carbon

» By | Published 20 Feb 2013 |

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee yesterday voted in favour of a proposal that will help to fix Europe’s ailing Emissions Trading System (ETS). The proposal could see surplus “permits to pollute” withheld from the market – a move which should push the carbon price up, providing polluting industries with an incentive to move away from fossil fuels.

“This is a good political signal showing that the EU still supports its carbon pricing policy. The ETS was designed to reduce emissions and level the playing field between fossil fuels and renewable electricity generation so that polluting technologies could finally be priced at their true cost to society. It has so far failed to reach these aims and today’s vote is a first step to fixing this,” Rémi Gruet, Senior Regulatory Affairs Advisor at EWEA, explained.

The current carbon price hovers around the €5 per tonne mark, but the current ETS – launched in 2008 – was designed around a carbon price of at least €25 per tonne. Since, the economic crisis has had the general effect of reducing carbon emissions meaning that thousands of carbon permits have been washing around the market at prices so low they no longer provide a reason to shift away from carbon-intensive processes.


How noisy are wind turbines really?

» By | Published 20 Feb 2013 |

It’s not easy to measure wind turbine noise as background noise from rainfall to traffic interferes with the results, says the latest Wind Directions based on a recent EWEA workshop. In fact, that background noise – including the wind itself – is usually louder than the sound of the turbines.

At least 17 peer-reviewed studies have found that there is no adverse effect on human health linked to turbine noise.

However, people’s concerns about wind turbine noise must be taken seriously. “Developers must also show respect by answering questions and listening to fears,” said Jeremy Bass, Senior Technical Manager at RES.

Read the full article in Wind Directions now.


Wind farms creating new communities in Holland

» By | Published 19 Feb 2013 |

As part of a new series in association with Global Wind Day, the EWEA blog is publishing “wind energy stories” from around the world. Today, Robert van Waarden, photographer and wind energy enthusiast travels to Holland to meet a farmer active in community wind power.

“If I only grew potatoes and onions, then I wouldn’t talk with so many people,” says Jaap van der Beek. “You talk so often to these people because we all have the same interest. That interest is to build a big wind park.”

Jaap van der Beek has been harvesting the wind for over 16 years and his 850kw turbine powers hundreds of homes. He lives in North Holland; an area that centuries ago was dominated by wooden windmills. A pilot, farmer and a wind enthusiast, Jaap is a busy man.