A new opinion poll conducted in Austria has found that 77% of Austrians are in favour of wind energy compared to just 4% in favour of fossil fuels and 1% for nuclear power.
The poll, published on 8 May by the Austrian Wind Energy Association, IG Windkraft, also found that Austrian’s are prepared to pay €25 per year for wind energy – five times the level they currently pay.
“Austrians want an energy transition and wish for the expansion of wind power,” said Stefan Moidl, Managing Director of IG Windkraft. continue reading »
In association with Global Wind Day, photographer Robert van Waarden travels to three different communities in Romania that have been inspired by wind energy. Read their stories below, and think about submitting your own wind energy inspired story and photo to the Global Wind Day 2013 photo competition which closes on 12 May!
Mayor of Progresu and Fácáeni
Roşu Nuţi was born in Progresu and has been the mayor here for 10 years. Her ambitious spirit is apparent the moment she walks in a room and if you need proof of how hard she works, one glance at her overflowing desk should help.
When Roşu first heard about the plan to construct a 44 turbine wind farm in the community, she immediately saw the benefits. However, as is always the case with something new in a community, there was some confusion and pessimism among the citizens.
Roşu spent a lot of energy organising and convincing the village that this was a good idea. Eventually they came around and ground will be broken on the project this year.
For Progresu and Fácáeni the money injected into the local economy will have a clear benefit. Infrastructure here is underdeveloped: roads are poor and horse-and-cart is still the mode of transport for many. Any local jobs that are created will be welcome in a village with an unemployment rate of 45%.
“The earth won’t be able to give us fossil fuels for eternity, and when we take into account the nuclear plant nearby, we prefer to have a field of turbines,” says Roşu.
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The reason fossil fuel firms are not trying to reduce their carbon emissions could be due to uncertainty on climate and energy policy, suggests the Economist in a recent editorial.
The paper cites cuts in renewable energy support schemes as one of the elements influencing investors. “Companies are betting that government climate policies will fail.”
This is exactly what EWEA has been warning for many months:
“The financial and economic crisis has provoked a wave of uncertainty across the European Union since 2010, with national governments making damaging retroactive changes to policies and regulations for wind energy.”
The Economist added that in mid-April the European Parliament voted against attempts to shore up Europe’s emissions trading system, the world’s largest carbon market, against collapse.
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The 1 May celebrations in Europe last week were tainted by historically high unemployment levels, a miserable macroeconomic outlook and a battered climate and energy policy. The challenges facing Europe’s economy are many. But it is beyond doubt that a thorough modernisation of our energy supply remains an important part of the solution.
Every single day the EU spends almost a billion Euros in oil imports. This is far from being the best way for Europe to strengthen its competitiveness, public finances, employment and security of supply. At the same time, an outdated and poorly connected electricity grid continues to impose unnecessarily high energy prices on businesses and consumers.
In many Member States the economic crisis has led “cheap energy” to become a mantra for business and policy makers. I couldn’t agree more. Accordingly, it is all the more important that the setting of energy prices is based on fair and transparent accounting methods. Therefore the cost of pollution should, obviously, be included as should the hidden subsidies from which both fossil fuels and nuclear energy benefit so hugely.
We must keep in mind that what is cheap energy today will not necessarily remain cheap tomorrow. In the past, we have time and again underestimated the development of the oil price. Given that the European continent possesses no significant fossil energy reserves, and is already importing more than half its energy, it would be a high-risk game, both from an economic and from a security policy point of view, to base our long-term energy strategy on what is cheap here and now.
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The Dutch government recently published its draft plans aimed at better managing the growth of onshore wind power in the country to the satisfaction of the Dutch Wind Energy Association (NWEA).
The plan sets out how at least 6,000 megawatts of onshore wind power can be installed in the Netherlands in the coming years. New installations are “crucial” if the country is to meet its 2020 renewable targets, according to the NWEA. The recently elected coalition government pledged earlier this year to source 16% of the country’s final energy consumption from renewables by 2020. This is a slight increase compared to the country’s 14% target under the EU renewables directive, but will mean a significant increase in the country’s wind power given that only 2.4 GM of energy are currently provided by wind.
For the past two years, differences of opinion between the Dutch government and the provinces over who has control of certain areas of land has stifled growth in the wind sector. An administrative agreement between the central and regional authorities at the start of the year, followed by plans setting out how land can be used for onshore turbines, means that projects that have been stalled can get back on track and “we can make up for lost time,” says Ton Hirdes, director at NWEA.
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