Wind power one of cleanest energy sources over lifetime

» By | Published 24 Jul 2013 |

Greenhouse gases produced over the lifetime of a wind turbine – including for its manufacturing and installation – are less than that of fossil-fuel based energy sources and most other renewables, a new study from the US shows. Only ocean energy (wave and tidal) and hydropower have lower emissions than wind.

As a clean, fuel-free source of energy, wind turbines obviously create energy without generating the damaging pollutants that result from burning coal, gas and other fossil fuels. But a charge often leveled by anti-wind energy groups is that the manufacture and erection of wind turbines creates emissions on a scale that belies the idea that wind power is clean.

The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory shows that wind energy‘s lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions are a small percentage of those of fossil fuels, lower than nuclear, and even lower than nearly all other renewable energy resources. From cradle to grave, coal-fired electricity releases about 20 times more greenhouse gases per kilowatt-hour than wind or solar, for example (based on median estimates for each technology).  See the study for further details.

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Media reports on offshore boost in 2013 but heeds EWEA’s warning

» By | Published 19 Jul 2013 |

RechargecoverThe release of EWEA’s offshore statistics for the first half of 2013 generated a lot of column inches around the world. The headlines were generally positive, reporting on the 277 offshore wind turbines newly grid connected in the first six months of this year. But the articles did not shy away from reporting on the warning signs evident in the sector, where financing of new projects has slowed down to a crawl.

Many reports focused on the details of new offshore capacity, compared with the same period last year. The first half of 2012 saw around 500 MW installed, so this year’s 1,045MW was a doubling of that figure. The total offshore capacity installed last year, at 1.2GW, has almost been surpassed in the first six months of this year, bringing the overall offshore capacity in Europe to 6.04GW across 58 wind farms in ten countries.

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France has a pivotal role to play on 2030 targets

» By | Published 18 Jul 2013 |

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.

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Development banks spend 32 times more on fossil fuels than renewables

» By | Published 16 Jul 2013 |

CROATIAOn 1 July Croatia became the 28th member of the EU. The country has started investing in wind power – indeed it is the leader of the western Balkan region, with 193.75 MW of wind turbines in operation at the end of 2012. However a new report underlines that international financial institutions must offer more support for renewables rather than fossil fuels if Croatia and its Balkan neighbours are ever to catch up with the renewable energy capacity of other EU states.

According to the report, Invest in Haste, Repent at leisure, published by civil society organisations CEE Bankwatch Network, SEE Change Net and WWF, Europe’s development banks are spending 32 times more on fossil fuels than on non-hydropower renewable energy sources in the western Balkan region. This trend means that the western Balkan countries are heading in the opposite direction of the EU goals on climate change for the years 2020, 2030 and 2050, says the report.

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British Prime Minister celebrates the world’s largest offshore wind farm

» By | Published 09 Jul 2013 |
The world's largest offshore wind farm

The London Array, located in the Thames Estuary

The world’s largest offshore wind farm was opened last week in the Thames Estuary.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was among the dignitaries present at the inauguration of the 630 MW London Array last week.

Enthusiastically endorsing the first phase of the London Array, Cameron said the massive offshore wind farm represented a major win for renewable energy.

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