Fatih Birol, Opening Session, EWEA 2013 in Vienna.
By subsidising fossil fuels, governments are “stealing money from the pockets of the poor, who would get money otherwise for schools and hospitals”.
So says Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency, in the latest issue of Wind Directions.
Fossil fuels get over half a trillion US dollars – six times more than renewables, but 80% of this money goes to households with high and middle incomes, he says.
He adds that if renewable energy subsidies are used intelligently, “they can help kick-off renewables projects which would help us to reduce environmental problems and at the same time help to improve the energy security of countries and help to get jobs in the renewables sector.”
Read the full interview in Wind Directions
Wind energy costs are falling and some companies involved in wind are seeing a rise in profits, according to evidence which has appeared in the world’s media this month.
In Europe, insurance firm Allianz was quoted by Reuters as saying last week that “renewable energy production and infrastructure are gaining investor appeal as they become less dependent on government support in more European markets”.
The firm invests heavily in renewable energy projects because they “offer attractive feed-in tariffs, are already at grid parity (competitive with conventional energy) or are going in that direction.” Spanish and Italian wind and solar installations are the “most advanced in terms of profitability while those in the Nordic countries, Britain, Germany, France and the Benelux would be catching up,” Armin Sandhoevel, Chief Investment Officer for renewables at Allianz, said.
By Tuuliki Kasonen, Estonian Wind Power Association
Janne Põlluaas is an Estonian woman who has had a passion for photography and nature since spending her childhood summers at a beach called Laulasmaa, a 30 minute drive from the Estonian capital, Tallinn. As a child Janne would sit with her father in the darkroom and watch the pictures develop, feeling that photography must be magic. Today, Janne is a landscape architect and a garden decorator, an occupation which allows her to regularly observe the beauty of nature.
Strong markets in China, India and Brazil, and new markets in Latin America, Africa and much of Asia will drive growth in the wind industry over the next five years, according to a new report from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), which warns that investment in Europe could falter if renewables policies fail to offer stability.
Record installations in the US and Europe in 2012 led to installations of 44.8 GW of new wind power globally. This was 10% more than was installed in 2011, meaning that global installed capacity has now reached 282.5 GW, a cumulative increase of almost 19%.
The US wind energy industry had its strongest year ever, connecting over 13.1 GW of new wind power capacity from 190 projects, beating China to regain the top spot among global markets for the first time since 2009. Europe also had a good 12 months with 12,744 MW of wind power installed across the continent with EU countries accounting for 11,895 MW of the total.
The forecast globally is for a modest downturn in 2013, followed by a recovery in 2014 and beyond, with global capacity growing at an average rate of 13.7% until 2017, and global capacity nearly doubling to 536 GW.
Maria van der Hoeven, IEA
The continued expansion of wind power, coupled with a decrease in costs for the emissions-free electricity-generating technology, was one of the few positive notes in a new International Energy Agency (IEA) report on efforts to create a low-carbon world.
The IEA report, which was presented in India last week to the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), said that wind power capacity grew by 19% from 2011 to 2012 despite ongoing economic problems.
In its report, Tracking Clean Energy Progress, the IEA described onshore wind power as “one of the most cost-competitive renewable energy sources” and noted generation from 2000 to 2011 increased by 400 TWh (+27% per year), reaching an estimated 435 TWh in 2011.
By 2017, the report said, onshore wind generation is expected to reach almost 1,000 TWh.