IEA Chief Economist: governments “stealing money from the poor”

» By | Published 30 Apr 2013 |
Fatih Birol, Opening Session, EWEA 2013 in Vienna.

Fatih Birol, Opening Session, EWEA 2013 in Vienna.

By subsidising fossil fuels, governments are “stealing money from the pockets of the poor, who would get money otherwise for schools and hospitals”.

So says Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency, in the latest issue of Wind Directions.

Fossil fuels get over half a trillion US dollars – six times more than renewables, but 80% of this money goes to households with high and middle incomes, he says.

He adds that if renewable energy subsidies are used intelligently, “they can help kick-off renewables projects which would help us to reduce environmental problems and at the same time help to improve the energy security of countries and help to get jobs in the renewables sector.”

Read the full interview in Wind Directions

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Keeping it safe – how do wind workers avoid danger?

» By | Published 22 Apr 2013 |

keepingitsafeWhile the wind industry will never face the equivalent of a Deepwater oil spill or a Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, its spectacular growth rates over the last decade do mean there are more health and safety hazards.

An electrical fire can occur; heavy parts can fall from great heights; lifting huge unstable loads with cranes could go wrong; transferring workers from vessels to an offshore turbine in wavy conditions could be dangerous and, when an accident occurs in a remote wind farm, rescue can take longer.

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How noisy are wind turbines really?

» By | Published 20 Feb 2013 |

It’s not easy to measure wind turbine noise as background noise from rainfall to traffic interferes with the results, says the latest Wind Directions based on a recent EWEA workshop. In fact, that background noise – including the wind itself – is usually louder than the sound of the turbines.

At least 17 peer-reviewed studies have found that there is no adverse effect on human health linked to turbine noise.

However, people’s concerns about wind turbine noise must be taken seriously. “Developers must also show respect by answering questions and listening to fears,” said Jeremy Bass, Senior Technical Manager at RES.

Read the full article in Wind Directions now.

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“Our competitor is not Chinese turbine manufacturers, but other power generation” – EWEA Chief

» By | Published 12 Feb 2013 |
Christian Kjaer speaking at EWEA 2013

Christian Kjaer speaking at EWEA 2013

The European wind industry can beat its main competitors – other forms of power generation – “anytime” on a level playing field.

So says Christian Kjaer in his final Wind Directions interview before stepping down as CEO of EWEA on 1 April.

Free trade, the removal of subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear, and a no carbon power sector are needed to create fair conditions, he emphasises.

Kjaer also warns that the double dip recession will affect Europe’s wind sector “badly” but that longer term its future is bright, especially because “you don’t have fuel costs with wind energy.”

Read the full interview in Wind Directions

 

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“Spanish government is destroying ten years of wind energy development”

» By | Published 11 Feb 2013 |
Heikki Willstedt Mesa, AEE

Heikki Willstedt Mesa, AEE

For the last 100 days, wind energy has provided more of Spain’s power than any other source. Yet the government is cutting support for the sector and putting a major electricity provider – and domestic industry – at risk.

Heikki Willstedt Mesa, Energy Policies Director for the Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE) explains why the government’s latest decisions are so dangerous.

Until last week, what was the situation for renewables in Spain?

According to Spanish law, companies must get a reasonable return on their investments in renewable energy, with the average being between 7 and 8%. Last year, the new government decided there would be no more incentives for new renewable energy installations after 2012.

That was a big blow for the future industry. But then afterwards, at the end of 2012, the government also approved a 7% tax on all existing power generation installations. It was supposed to be a law for the environment, but they were also taxing wind and other renewables. That meant not only future industry was impacted, but also already existing wind farms.

So what happened last week, and how has it made matters even worse?

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