Philippe Martin is an important man. As France’s new environment minister, he occupies a key post in a government that will be pivotal in determining the EU’s post-2020 climate and energy policy.
While no official position will be presented before the elections, there are little doubts that Germany will come out in favour a binding 2030 renewable energy target – which is critical for investor confidence in the wind energy sector – but the UK is officially against. France currently supports such a target but only at a later stage, after a greenhouse gas reduction target is in place.
The French government needs to realise the importance of setting three targets – for renewables, greenhouse gas reduction and energy efficiency – simultaneously, so that they can work together and mutually reinforce each other. Additionally, an ambitious three target package would highlight the EU’s leadership at the 2015 UN climate change meeting in Paris.
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?
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.
There was a party atmosphere on 14 June in the Turkish capital, as parents, children, wind energy representatives and government officials came together for wind energy. They were attending the opening ceremony of the exhibition of paintings and photos organised by the Turkish Wind Energy Association (TWEA) for Global Wind Day on 15 June.
Children from local schools in Ankara had submitted brightly coloured paintings showing what wind can do – from blowing kites high in the sky to making boats sail. Their proud mums and dads looked on and took photos as their offspring – dressed in their finest – received their awards from Turkish Energy Minister Yildiz. The winner of the photo competition had gone for a far more haunting and mysterious black and white image of numerous hot air balloons rising above the clouds.
On Global Wind Day itself the action continues in Turkey as a bus-load of people is making the overnight journey from Ankara up to Izmir on the Aegean coast to visit Turkey’s first wind farm and tour Enercon and Vestas factories.
Global Wind Day is the worldwide annual day for discovering wind energy and what it can do.
Find out what is going on near you by having a look at the interactive map.
Thomas Becker, EWEA CEO.
“Gas, coal and nuclear have more political clout than the wind industry”, and the industry has to take a “more visible place in the political landscape.”
So writes EWEA’s new CEO Thomas Becker in the latest Wind Directions.
“The big boys did not see nice ‘alternative’ wind as a threat. Now they do. As old power plants face closure the competition between technologies to fill the gap is intense.
Becker calls for European and national associations to “speak with one voice.”
“Gone are the days when economic growth made expansion easy for all technologies. The associations of the wind industry need to big up – like turbines have. Like the grid we need to be better interconnected: European and national associations must work together much more closely to shape national government and EU energy policy.”
Read the full article in the latest Wind Directions