Romanian monks turn to wind energy

» By | Published 26 Aug 2013 |

You could call Father Iustin a pioneer. He installed a wind turbine long before the hundreds that you can now see from this hill appeared. He was the first monk in the Constanța region to power his monastery with renewable technology and now he gladly advises other monasteries to do the same.

“I like being a monk,” says Father Iustin Petre, one of the founders of the Casian Monastery in Romania. “It is free, no stress.”

It is quiet up here. Birds float on the wind over a landscape that would be at home in the Mediterranean. A small wind toy spins on a post and even the cats and dogs that inhabit every Romanian scene are friendlier.

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Hitting the jackpot with wind energy in Poland

» By | Published 19 Aug 2013 |

“We feel like we’ve won the lottery.”

Mirosława and Mieczysław Horodiuk sit on a couch in their living room, their aged cat stares through the window. Here in Kończewo in north western Poland a late spring snow has fallen, delaying the spring planting for this farming family. They rest easy knowing that summer will come and they now have a guaranteed income.

10 years ago a wind energy developer approached the Horodiuk family to rent part of their farmland for a wind turbine. They were sceptical about this opportunity. It would have been difficult for them to agree if they were on their own, but they had support.

The citizens of Kobylnica had been prepared for such an event. Leszek Kuliński, mayor of Kobylnica, became interested in wind turbines while on holiday in Denmark. (His wife complained that 80% of the photographs he took were of wind turbines.) Leszek wanted to bring this industry to Kobylnica. He travelled to Germany to research and to investigate if it was safe for the community. He returned determined to make his commune attractive to wind energy developers.

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I Love Windpower brings wind energy and identity to Mali

» By | Published 12 Aug 2013 |
Piet Willem Chevalier, Den Haag, the Netherlands

Piet Willem Chevalier

“If I had to sum it up in one word, I would say identity,” says Piet Willem Chevalier, owner and operator of I Love Windpower. “On my first trip to Mali, I saw this group of people that were really shy, that didn’t want to ask questions, they had no confidence. After we made that first turbine, we threw a party and it was quite amazing to see how this sense of identity grew.”

One day while driving in the Netherlands Piet became transfixed by a set of wind turbines and literally drove off the road,. He couldn’t have known at that time that this incident would change his life. In a few years he would be bringing wind power to Mali where the poorest communities often pay the highest rates for energy.

One thing led to another and Piet started working as an engineer for Siemens wind. After about a year Piet discovered the work of Welsh engineer, Hugh Piggott. Mr. Piggott is the inventor of an open source, affordable, small-scale wind turbine design. Piet invited Hugh to come and teach a workshop in the Netherlands. It took some convincing, but Mr. Piggott finally agreed.

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Global Wind Day goes offshore and gets on its bike

» By | Published 21 Jun 2013 |

Of the 200 events worldwide for Global Wind Day 2013, some were organised close enough to Brussels that European Wind Energy Association staff were able to visit. The wind farm WaseWind, close to Antwerp was one such location. There they met hordes of local school kids and their teachers, who had cycled there to inspect the turbines for themselves.

WaseWind’s motto is ‘Samen WaseWind oogsten’ which means ‘harvesting the wind together in the Wase region’. That motto shapes the company’s structure and daily work as a cooperative wind farm: only local citizens can buy shares, and only as many as they need for their own supply. Christa Schaut from WaseWind explained that currently, over 1,600 people in the region own shares – and profit from them with lower bills on electricity. A small group started off the project in 2002, managing to get all necessary permits for construction starting in 2005. Since then, WaseWind has expanded several times, always triggering a lot of interest in shares.

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Global wind day photo competition winners ready for their close-up

» By | Published 18 Jun 2013 |

Wind energy at work is the theme that united all winners of this year’s Global Wind Day photo competition. From a turbine tower being lowered into place to turbines set in agricultural backgrounds juxtaposed harmoniously with nature all around, this year’s photos show the beauty and the working reality of wind power.

“In 2005 during a family vacation in Ireland, I photographed my first wind turbine and something just went off in my head, like a lightbulb, that this is my calling,” overall winner Joan Sullivan from Canada said explaining her dedication to photographing wind energy. The winning photo was taken in Mont Louis, eastern Quebec. Sullivan climbed to the top of the middle tower section and took the photo as a crane lowered the top section down. “I hope that my photographs will contribute positively to the global dialogue about the inevitable transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”

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