Growing interest in the rapidly-expanding offshore wind sector took a new twist earlier this week when the website of the influential US magazine Popular Science published an article featuring marine-based wind turbine concepts with “super-chic lofts for employees.”
The article said that a Bulgarian design firm predicts a future in which gigantic offshore wind turbines come equipped with futuristic housing for workers.
“Part of the inspiration for these lofts was a European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) report estimating that by 2030, there will be over 300,000 jobs in offshore wind power,” the article said.
In fact, the European wind industry faces a severe skills shortage of around 7,000 appropriately qualified staff per year. This shortfall could climb to 15,000 by 2030 — nearly 2% of the entire wind industry workforce — if numbers of suitable workers don’t increase.
The London Array, located in the Thames Estuary
The world’s largest offshore wind farm was opened last week in the Thames Estuary.
British Prime Minister David Cameron was among the dignitaries present at the inauguration of the 630 MW London Array last week.
Enthusiastically endorsing the first phase of the London Array, Cameron said the massive offshore wind farm represented a major win for renewable energy.
IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven
A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), stating that global power generation from hydro, wind, solar and other renewable sources will exceed that of gas and be twice that of nuclear by 2016, is receiving widespread news coverage.
Renewable power is expected to increase by 40% in the next five years, according to the IEA’s second annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report launched last Wednesday in New York.
According to the report, renewables are now the fastest-growing power generation sector and will make up almost a quarter of the global power mix by 2018, up from an estimated 20% in 2011.
In addition, the report found that the share of non-hydro sources such as wind, solar, bioenergy and geothermal in total power generation will double, reaching 8% by 2018, up from 4% in 2011 and just 2% in 2006.
“As their costs continue to fall, renewable power sources are increasingly standing on their own merits versus new fossil-fuel generation,” IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said as she presented the report at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum.
The Act on Facts map of Australia
Vestas, one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers, as well as Greenpeace and other environmental groups, have launched a campaign to push back at a virulent anti-wind lobby that continually distorts the truth about the electricity-generating technology in Australia.
“The wind industry is being challenged by an anti-wind lobby that often disregards factual information,” Vestas said, adding the new “Act on Facts” campaign is the company’s way of ensuring global citizens have an informed and balanced perspective about emissions-free wind energy.
In a statement, Vestas said atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have passed the 400 parts per million (ppm) mark and are well on the way to the 450 ppm tipping point after which there’s no turning back. Saying the effects of climate change are very real, the company added extreme weather events are becoming more frequent while ice caps are melting, forests are burning, and coasts are flooding.
“As part of the solution, wind power helps tip the balance back in our favour,” the company continued. “Yet anti-wind activists sometimes via deception and misinformation are threatening a promising move toward a clean energy future and the investments and jobs that that future holds.”
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.