Water used for EU power production equivalent to annual consumption of Germany

» By | Published 13 Mar 2014 |

Nuclear, coal and gas plants in Europe use 4.5 billion m³ of water a year, equivalent to that of 82 million EU citizens – the same as the population of Germany – new research shows. Energy production represents 44% of the EU’s total water use: more than any other activity.

Yet wind energy, which uses no water, avoids the use of 1.2 billion m³ of water per year , representing savings of €2.4 billion says the report released today by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) at its annual event in Barcelona.

“Water equivalent to over three Olympic size swimming pools is consumed every minute of every day of the year to cool Europe’s nuclear, coal and gas plants”, pointed out Ivan Pineda of EWEA. “Increasing our use of wind energy will help preserve this precious resource far more effectively than any ban on watering the garden– while saving us money”.

Heads of state and government meeting on 20-21 March to discuss a 2030 climate and energy policy should take this research into account: boosting wind and renewable energy via an ambitious and binding renewable energy target for 2030 will have major benefits for the environment, as well as promoting green growth and jobs in a leading European industry.

Read the report: www.ewea.org/publications/reports/

More information: www.ewea.org/annual2014

El agua utilizada para la producción de energía en la UE es equivalente al consumo anual en Alemania

Las centrales nucleares y las plantas de carbón y gas en Europa utilizan 4.500 millones de m³ de agua al año, equivalente al consumo de 82 millones de ciudadanos de la UE, la población de Alemania, tal y como muestra un estudio reciente. La producción de energía representa el 44 % del consumo total de agua en la UE, más de cualquier otra actividad.

Sin embargo, la energía eólica, que no utiliza agua, evita el uso de 1.200 millones de m³ de agua al año,  lo que representa un ahorro de 2.400 millones de euros, según el informe publicado hoy por la Asociación Europea de la Energía Eólica (EWEA) en su evento anual en Barcelona.

“Un volumen de agua equivalente a más de tres piscinas olímpicas se consume cada minuto de cada día del año para enfriar las centrales nucleares y las plantas de carbón y gas europeas», señaló Angeliki Koulouri de EWEA. «Aumentar el uso de la energía eólica ayudará a preservar este valioso recurso de forma mucho más eficaz que cualquier prohibición de regar el jardín, al mismo tiempo que nos permitirá ahorrar dinero.”

Los jefes de Estado y de Gobierno que se reúnan los días 20-21 de marzo para debatir sobre una política climática y energética de cara a 2030 deben tener en cuenta esta investigación: impulsar la energía eólica y las renovables a través de un objetivo de energía renovable ambicioso y vinculante para 2030 tendrá importantes beneficios para el medio ambiente e impulsará el crecimiento verde y el empleo en una industria líder a nivel europeo.

El informe: www.ewea.org/publications/reports/

Más información: www.ewea.org/annual2014.


Top wind industry award goes to Mainstream chief Eddie O’Connor

» By | Published 10 Mar 2014 |

EddieOConnorawardThe wind energy industry’s prestigious Poul la Cour prize was awarded this afternoon to Airtricity and Mainstream Renewable Power founder Eddie O’Connor.

“This year, the award goes to someone who is a very rare breed: both a visionary and a businessman”, commented the president of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) Andrew Garrad, presenting the award in Barcelona at the EWEA 2014 Annual Event.

O’Connor co-founded Irish wind farm development company Airtricity in 1997 – at a time when wind energy was a minor player in the energy mix – and acted as chief executive until he sold the company for around €2 billion to E.ON and Scottish & Southern Energy in 2008.

He went on to set up Mainstream Renewable Power, now six years old, which has 180 staff and offices around the world, and was until 2013 a member of the supervisory board of EWEA.

“Eddie is a very great colleague and dear friend,” said Garrad. “No-one could be more deserving of the Poul la Cour prize and it gives me enormous pleasure to award it to him.”

The EWEA 2014 Annual Event runs from 10-13 March in Barcelona: www.ewea.org/annual2014


IEA executive director: “We welcome a renewables target for 2030”

» By | Published 10 Mar 2014 |

The International Energy Agency (IEA) supports an EU renewable energy target for 2030 – this would reduce policy risk and so “bring down costs and put us on the path we want to be on”, stated Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the IEA today at the European Wind Energy Association’s 2014 annual event in Barcelona.

However, in the absence of national targets a governance system to ensure countries contribute is necessary, she added, also emphasising the importance of power market integration.

Continuing the discussion on the power system, Portugal’s secretary of state for energy Artur Trindade, another keynote speaker at the session, said his country at times gets up to 90% of its power from wind energy. What do you think happens? He asked the audience. The answer is “nothing!” No-one notices, nothing changes, he stated: there are high levels of wind energy regularly in the Portuguese power system without an issue.

Enercon Managing Director and EWEA 2014 conference chair Hans-Dieter Kettwig referred to the dangerous regulatory instability for renewables in the EWEA 2014 host country, Spain, and called on the Spanish government to “break down the walls in your land and in your head” and restore a stable framework.

European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) president Andrew Garrad called for renewable energy targets for 2030 and stressed the energy security wind energy brings.  “Putin cannot turn off the wind energy tap” he said. EWEA launched a new report looking at how wind energy can avoid fossil fuel imports today.

EWEA 2014 runs from 10-13 March 2014: www.ewea.org/annual2014


Wind turbines produce high energy outputs for 25 years, study finds

» By | Published 05 Mar 2014 |

Wind turbines are proving they can operate effectively for 25 years. That means a single wind turbine has a lifespan similar to that of solar panels and gas turbines, and nearly one-third that of human beings.

An Imperial College Business school study found that Britain’s oldest onshore turbines generate 75% of their original output after 19 years of operation. The study projected the turbines to remain effective through 25 years.

This is despite noisy claims from some quarters that wind turbines are only effective for a decade.

Sceptics have also been concerned about the greenhouse gas emissions created as a result of required maintenance on turbines over their long lifespans, but a different study showed that wind energy still minimises greenhouse gas emissions more than nearly all other energy sources.

“The new research from Imperial College London brings solid evidence that wind farms meet technical feasibility and economic viability requirements throughout their lifespan,” said EWEA’s Angeliki Koulouri.

The study should instill faith in concerned wind energy investors, said Richard Green, co-author and heat of the Department of Management at Imperial College Business School. He was quoted, “This study gives a ‘thumbs up’ to the technology and shows that renewable energy is an asset for the long term.”


One thousand European cities call for 30% renewables target

» By | Published 24 Feb 2014 |

Over 1000 European cities have written a joint letter to European Council president Herman Van Rompuy to call for a 30% renewable energy target for 2030, alongside a 40% energy efficiency target.

On 22 January, the European Commission proposed a 40% greenhouse gas reduction target and a 27% renewable energy target that is non-binding at the national level. But the European Parliament voted in favour of stronger targets (a 30% renewable energy target subdivided between Member States and a 40% energy efficiency target). Energy Cities, the alliance representing the 1,000 cities, is hoping the EU Heads of State, who meet on the topic on 20-21 March, will follow the MEPs’ more ambitious lead.

Energy Cities president Eckart Würzner identified problems with the Commission’s weak proposals as well as problems with the clash between EU institutions’ visions. He was quoted in a EurActiv article saying, “I personally sense a great deal of disillusionment among my citizens towards European politics. An ambitious EU climate and energy policy that tackled economic growth, fuel poverty and quality of life issues would ultimately contribute to restoring trust in European institutions.”

Energy Cities represents urban Europe because they believe “the fight against climate change will be won or lost in urban areas.” An Economist analysis predicts that 33% of cities will be affected by climate change by 2025, largely due to the fact that cities are responsible for 70% of greenhouse gas emissions.