The resource assessment workshop in Dublin
The wind is not the same everywhere, every day. It can vary depending on the landscape, the altitude and the climate. A turbine on a mountain in Switzerland will not have the same wind conditions as a turbine on a delta in Italy. Yet for wind energy developers and investors, knowing as far as possible how much energy a planned farm will produce – ‘resource assessment’ – is crucial.
“Resource assessment determines whether your wind farm will make money or go bust,” says Will Barker from ZephIR. “An accurate assessment means more profit and less risk for the investor.”
“If you get the resource assessment wrong, there’s uncertainty for manufacturers and financiers”, agrees Stefan Ivanell from Gotland University.
What’s more, as wind turbines evolve –getting taller and with larger rotors – measuring the resource becomes even more complex. And what impact does one wind turbine in a wind farm have on the wind that blows over the other turbines?
In a European Commission building in Brussels yesterday morning, high-level representatives from business groups, renewable energy, the chemical industry, the gas industry, a health and environment alliance and an MEP battled it out in front of an audience of over 100. The topic was EU energy policy after 2020s.
The scene was set by Moderator Arthur Neslen, Climate and Energy Editor at Euractiv. On the panel beside him were Thomas Becker, CEO EWEA; Anne Stauffer, HEAL; Ms Beate Raabe, Secretary General of Eurogas; Peter Botschek, Director of Energy & Health, Safety & Environment, Cefic; Adrian Van den Hoven, Deputy Director General, BUSINESSEUROPE and Frauke Thies, Policy Director of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association. MEP Claude Turmes also joined the debate.
The lively two-hour debate generated some interesting quotes.
EWEA CEO Thomas Becker made the point that “We should demand that politicians take us there because the market will not do it by itself”, referring to the fact that the EU has decided to be almost carbon free by 2050.
Those European countries which have cut support schemes for renewable energy, have – just like Professor Butler writing on an FT blog yesterday – jumped to the wrong conclusion.
“Competitiveness is the watchword of the moment. Recession and unemployment are the crises which require attention”, the Professor writes. Yes indeed. Yet withdrawing public support for wind energy and other renewables to boost competitiveness, to tackle recession and unemployment is as illogical as eating an orange a day for your health – and stopping as soon as you get a cold.
The renewables sector employs over 1.2 million people in Europe. Wind energy alone contributed €32 billion to the EU economy in 2010 and employs well over 200,000 people in Europe. Europe is a net exporter of wind energy technology. Support for renewables is support for European jobs; a European industry and European growth.
By Angelika Pullen, WindMade
Finally, after many months of deliberations with technical experts, environmental NGOs and potential user companies, and after various rounds of corporate and public consultations, we’re proud to present the WindMade Product Label.
This is exciting news for WindMade. From now on, progressive brands can apply to use the WindMade label directly on their products. This will give them a real competitive edge with increasingly conscious consumers.
This label, which can be applied to all products using a minimum share of 75% of renewable energy in their total electricity consumption, will be a great way to recognize companies for their efforts while empowering consumer choice, giving them a tool to vote with their wallets and demonstrate their support for wind power. Because we know from poll after poll that the vast majority of the public backs wind power, both in the U.S. and in Europe.
Of the 200 events worldwide for Global Wind Day 2013, some were organised close enough to Brussels that European Wind Energy Association staff were able to visit. The wind farm WaseWind, close to Antwerp was one such location. There they met hordes of local school kids and their teachers, who had cycled there to inspect the turbines for themselves.
WaseWind’s motto is ‘Samen WaseWind oogsten’ which means ‘harvesting the wind together in the Wase region’. That motto shapes the company’s structure and daily work as a cooperative wind farm: only local citizens can buy shares, and only as many as they need for their own supply. Christa Schaut from WaseWind explained that currently, over 1,600 people in the region own shares – and profit from them with lower bills on electricity. A small group started off the project in 2002, managing to get all necessary permits for construction starting in 2005. Since then, WaseWind has expanded several times, always triggering a lot of interest in shares.