Breath of Fresh Air: interview with Ward Van Hout

» By | Published 05 Oct 2010 |

Ward Van Hout, a student studying Aerospace Engineering at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands, tells EWEA why he is a fan of wind energy and why he adopted a wind turbine as part of EWEA’s 2010 campaign…

EWEA: Why do you support wind energy?

Van Hout: I support wind energy because it is the future. Wind energy will help us to overcome the shortage of fossil fuels. There has been an enormous increase in world population which means a drastic increase in energy consumption. And with this comes more and more pollution, higher CO2 concentrations, etc. An excellent alternative is wind energy. On Earth, sufficient wind is available for our energy needs. Strikingly, there is 200 times more wind energy available than current energy demand. Wind power is solar power, meaning that as long as the sun is giving us heat, we can make use of wind turbines to collect that power. It is clear that wind energy is the driving power of the 21st century – the renewable energy age!

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World’s first 6 MW turbine park

» By | Published 25 May 2010 |

Eleven turbine towers, six of which are already connected to the electricity grid providing power to thousands of homes, stand tall and proud on the Levant de Mons plateau near Estinnes, Belgium. It’s a grey, cold day when we visit and the wind’s obvious strength is turning the blades at a consistent rate of knots.

What’s different about these turbines is the sheer amount of power they can produce – at 6 MW each they are the largest ever to be installed on land. Once all these impressive machines are connected to the grid, they will provide power for 50,000 homes – more than enough to keep the lights on in nearby town Mons.

Built by Enercon, these E-126 turbines sit on a 27 metre-large concrete foundation and are connected to the electricity grid via 11km of underground cables. Installing them requires one of the world’s largest cranes and hefty lorries capable of transporting the turbine and its components from the factory in Germany to the farm in Belgium.

We pick our way through the pools of mud surrounding the turbines and go inside a turbine tower where the noise of electricity-generation is intense. The tower is 131 metres tall and inside is a panel indicating just how much electricity is being produced at the time, wind speed and direction, and whether or not the turbine is connected to the grid. WindVision, the company developing the project, estimates that annually the Estinnes turbines will produce 187,000,000 kWh of electricity.

Back outside and close-up to the tower, today, the noise is no louder than the sound of the wind or traffic passing on the nearby main road. In addition, turbines are now slowed down at night to reduce sound from the wind turbines reaching residents.

Local children have already adorned the grey towers with wind-friendly messages such as “les éoliennes, c’est cool,” and “je suis folle des éoliennes.”

Once the Estinnes park has been completed, WindVision hopes 6 MW turbines will be installed across Europe.

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850 turbines adopted

» By | Published 12 May 2010 |

EWEA’s campaign to get every turbine in Europe adopted is racing ahead with more than 800 turbines now adopted. A record 142 turbines have been adopted in one of wind energy’s pioneering countries – Spain, while another of Europe’s wind energy giants – Denmark – trails far behind with just 20 adoptions.

No other countries have yet reached the 100 turbine mark, but the UK is not too far off with a total of 89 turbines adopted.

The northern-most turbines to be adopted are on the Faroe Islands, while a handful of turbines have been adopted in southern Europe, in regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

The voting contest is also hoting up with one turbine in Belgium receiving a massive 121 votes. This turbine in Lanaken, eastern Belgium, produces 4,600 MW of electricity, saving 2,631 tonnes of CO2 a year.

Have you adopted a turbine yet? Click here to see more.

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