Wind energy at work is the theme that united all winners of this year’s Global Wind Day photo competition. From a turbine tower being lowered into place to turbines set in agricultural backgrounds juxtaposed harmoniously with nature all around, this year’s photos show the beauty and the working reality of wind power.
“In 2005 during a family vacation in Ireland, I photographed my first wind turbine and something just went off in my head, like a lightbulb, that this is my calling,” overall winner Joan Sullivan from Canada said explaining her dedication to photographing wind energy. The winning photo was taken in Mont Louis, eastern Quebec. Sullivan climbed to the top of the middle tower section and took the photo as a crane lowered the top section down. “I hope that my photographs will contribute positively to the global dialogue about the inevitable transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”
In the Africa category, the winning photo depicts a young man polishing turbine parts with dedication. “I found it deeply encouraging to see the innovation and raw enthusiasm of everyone involved with this enterprising wind company in western Kenya,” photographer Tom Gilks said. “This particular turbine, photographed early in the construction phase, is going up on Global Wind Day [15 June] on an isolated island in Lake Victoria. I sense the project is going to have a great impact on the island community and I hope it will drive similar sustainable schemes on neighbouring islands,” Gilks said.
Marvin del Cid, winner of the Americas category, took his winning photo of an elegant group of flamingos with turbines gracing the background in the Jargua national park, in the Dominican Republic. “Delving into the lagoon to photograph birds in the wild and see how man can develop power generation technologies without altering ecosystems is rewarding, and makes us see that we can live with nature and not destroy it further,” Cid said.
In the Asia category, Sudipto Das captured a sunset behind turbines with irrigation taking place in the foreground. “Recently I travelled to Rajasthan and found how the installation of wind turbines changes the face of remote desert villages,” he said explaining his photo. Das said that power generated by the turbines is used to pump water which is then used for farming. “These barren desert areas now turn green and local farmers can cultivate mustard seeds which directly help to change the livelihoods of poor farmers living far below poverty level.”
For Patrick Finnegan, winner of the Australasia category, wind power can coexist with traditional farming practices and, to some land owners, wind power is “simply a new style of farming – a new crop.” The photo of a field of turbines and hay bales shows just that. “Here in the Australian outback we have cropping cattle and sheep grazing all working right alongside wind turbines farming the wind for electricity,” he said.
Mihalis Konstandinidis, winner of the Europe category, said he became dedicated to photographing renewable energy because “the contamination and destruction of our physical surroundings constitutes a major, acute, social and international problem that distresses me.”
His picture of a turbine casting a shadow on arid land was taken in Sidirokastro, Greece – an area that is now self-sufficient in energy thanks to wind power, he says. “The protection of the environment, or what is left of it, is in our hands,” Konstandinidis emphasised.
The 2013 photo competition was organised for Global Wind Day on 15 June – an international day to discover wind power. Find out more here.