By guest blogger Elke Zander
Finland is making huge steps to exploiting the power it has in the air, explained Anni Mikkonen, Executive Director of the Finnish Wind Power Association, at the Energia10 event in Tampere, Finland where EWEA brought its ‘Breath of fresh air’ campaign this week.
Two major obstacles to the development of wind energy have been addressed by the government and are currently in decision process with the Finnish parliament. Firstly, the lack of feed-in tariff to support wind energy. This is due to change from January 2011, the government says. The Finnish Wind Power Association is certain that with a feed-in tariff a major hurdle will be overcome, although Mikkonen stresses that the tariff levels are quite low, making near shore sites the most profitable in terms of wind energy.
Another issue has been spatial planning. Until now, two different plans had to be submitted: a local master plan and a local detailed plan. A new law has been designed now to only require the local master plan. This law proposal is with the parliament for decision as well.
UN talks on a possible international climate-saving deal are due to begin in December, but Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Change, last night warned that countries including China are steaming ahead with a revolution in carbon-cutting technology, with or without a global accord.
“Many parties are moving slowly in negotiations but not in reality,” she said at an EWEA debate “Wind of change – how Europe can benefit from reducing emissions by 30%” held in Brussels.
Wind power in China, for example, was virtually non existent 10 years ago, but today China has 50% of the global market, she said at the debate held on the eve of the EU environment council where environment ministers will be deciding the EU’s strategy ahead of the UN talks to be held in Cancun, Mexico.
The winter is fast approaching and so is the end of EWEA’s 2010 campaign to get as many turbines adopted across Europe as possible. So far, over 3,000 of you have adopted a turbine and more than 4,000 of you have voted in our competition to win a trip to a wind farm.
Spain is the leading country with over 400 turbines adopted, just trailed by Italy with 375 adoptions. The UK has 348 turbines adopted, while France is just under with 341 adoptions.
With two top prizes available – a weekend break in Copenhagen including a visit to a wind farm and a two-day break in the Swiss Jura Mountains including a trip to a wind farm and a snow-shoe tour if it snows – it is not surprising that the voting contest has taken off with a bang. Some turbine adopters have managed to gather over 400 votes putting them in good stead for the prizes.
If you still haven’t adopted your very own turbine, there’s plenty of time to do so – by the end of December 2010. Give yourself the chance to win one of the two trips abroad by encouraging all your friends and family to vote for your turbine. Visit our campaign website and adopt now!
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!
Cyclists were out in force in Brussels yesterday as all the roads were closed to vehicles for Car Free Sunday. Spectators and cyclists took the chance to stop off and browse the Hard Rain photo exhibition, displaying harrowing images of climate change, in front of the European Parliament.