The world is not on track to reach its goal of limiting global temperature increase to 2°C, warned the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Monday.
Highlighting the need for intensive action in the energy sector before 2020, the IEA noted that the energy sector accounts for about two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels.
“Climate change has quite frankly slipped to the back burner of policy priorities,” Marie van der Hoeven, IEA Executive Director said in a press release that accompanied the London launch of an IEA report, Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map. “But the problem is not going away – quite the opposite.”
“This report shows that the path we are currently on is more likely to result in a temperature increase of between 3.6 °C and 5.3 °C but also finds that much more can be done to tackle energy-sector emissions without jeopardising economic growth, an important concern for many governments,” van der Hoeven said.
With Global Wind Day 2013 taking place this weekend, we’re continuing the ‘wind energy stories’ series as Robert van Waarden travels to Thailand to explore low-wind solutions.
“I know that 70% of the area in the world has a low wind speed. I thought, if we want to promote the wind machine, 70% is a lot of the world,” Dr. Roy said.
Dr. Wirachai Roynarin or (Dr. Roy as he is more commonly known), is a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at RMUTT in Bangkok and owner of Prapai Technologies, a company that specialises in low wind-speed turbines. He grew up in a small farming family, where he learned to respect the land, before going to England to study. He returned to Thailand believing he could help his country and he set his sights on the wind.
A scene from Global Wind Day last year
By Jessica Anania
On 15 June, thousands of people will gather at over 200 events across the globe to discover wind energy as part of Global Wind Day. Global Wind Day offers both wind energy enthusiasts and novices opportunities to visit wind farms, discover the technology and its benefits and to have fun at one of the many festivals and open days on offer.
While the events of Global Wind Day are widespread, all involved are united by a belief in the importance of advocating for green energy.
In Tamilnadu, India, over 320 students at the Everest KenBridge School aged 3-13 will spend 15 June examining the structures of wind turbines and learning how to calculate wind speeds. Mr. Jayaganapthy, the school’s principal, describes how their area has already faced severe energy shortages and remains heavily reliant on diesel fuel. After installing solar powered lights and realising their efficiency, he became even more interested in renewable energy options. And he realised that his students were too when involving them in Global Wind Day.
“For every social cause, we need to promote awareness programmes amongst students, which will in turn become a revolution,” Mr. Jayaganapthy explained.
Government and financial institutions around the world must pledge to invest at least US$40 billion (€30.6 billion) in renewable energy over the next 12 months as a way of fighting climate change, according to a campaign launched this week by the environmental NGO the WWF.
“We are running out of time,” says Jim Leape, director general of WWF International, launching the campaign Seize Your Power. “We know that if we continue to rely on fossil fuels we will face a future of worsening air pollution and an increasingly inhospitable climate. It is now our collective responsibility to commit to the future we want. We call on political and financial decision-makers to seize their power to make the switch to clean and sustainable renewable energy and end the inertia of coal, oil and gas.”
Anyone and everyone can sign the pledge on the WWF’s website to encourage governments and financial institutions to put their money where their mouth is, and promise greater funds for wind, solar and water power. The campaign will run in 20 countries around the world and be targeted at public finance, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds.
Wind energy doesn’t usually see much support from UK newspaper the Daily Telegraph, but this weekend the paper published a story based on National Grid (the UK’s electricity grid operator) evidence proving that wind farms do not need fossil fuel back-up for when the weather is calm.
“The National Grid has studied what actually happens in practice, with explosive, if surprising, results,” the paper said. “Between April 2011 and September 2012…wind produced some 23,700 gigawatt hours (GWh) of power. Only 22 GWh of power from fossil fuels was needed to fill the gaps when the wind didn’t blow. That’s less than a thousandth of the turbines’ output – and, as it happens, less than a tenth of what was needed to back up conventional power stations.”
That statement highlights another perhaps little known fact – fossil fuel power stations do need back-up. A fossil fuelled power station needs to shut down for repairs or maintenance taking many gigawatts of power offline with it.