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.
“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.
“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.
An overwhelming majority of the public in the UK approve of the government providing financial support for renewable energy technologies, according to a new survey. The YouGov poll for the Sunday Times found support from across the political spectrum, with Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP voters all agreeing that the government should continue investing in low-carbon technologies.
The survey found 65% of respondents in favour of government spending money for wind power, while 76% said the same for tidal energy and 78% backed financial support for solar. In comparison, only 49% approved of public financial support for nuclear, 57% for clean coal and just 40% said the government should provide support for shale gas. 47% of respondents considered shale gas projects as damaging to the environment.
Despite this, Chancellor George Osborne recently revealed tax breaks for the fracking industry, with a 30% tax rate for onshore shale gas production, much lower than oil taxes. Osborne called his new tax regime “the most generous for shale in the world”.