Wind turbine in Jiangsu Province, China
Hot on the heels of the news that Chinese wind power produced more electricity than nuclear last year, comes the announcement that China’s wind power production grew more than coal power production for the first time ever in 2012, according to statistics from the China Energy Council.
Thermal power using mostly coal increased by only about 0.3% in China last year, the statistics noted, an addition of roughly 12 terawatt hours (TWh) more electricity.
“In contrast, wind power production expanded by about 26 TWh,” according to a blog posted on the Energy Collective written recently about the statistics by Li Shuo, a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace East Asia.
“This rapid expansion brings the total amount of wind power production in China to 100 TWh, surpassing China’s 98 TWh of nuclear power.”
North Hoyle offshore wind farm
While this blog frequently focusses on wind power reporting in national-level newspapers, the regional-level or local newspaper does not get as much attention as it perhaps merits.
Last month I was in North Wales – a coastline which is home to the UK’s first large scale offshore wind farm called North Hoyle. It currently has one other operating offshore wind farm – Rhyl Flats, and a massive development is underway further out to sea at Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm which, when completed in 2013, is set to provide electricity to cover nearly one-third of homes in Wales.
There is, of course, local opposition. On this particular stretch of coastline the opposition group is called Save Our Scenery – slightly ironic given that the new offshore farm is 18 km offshore and will be frequently out of vision thanks to the often dense banks of Welsh cloud.
The American, Australian, Canadian, European, Global and United Kingdom wind energy associations last week signed a joint statement on wind energy and health. Read it here…
In response to a proposed national study by Health Canada on wind turbine sound and human health, the American, Australian, Canadian, European, Global and United Kingdom wind energy industry associations point to seventeen reviews of independent research and evidence that all conclude wind is not harmful to human health.
According to the wind energy industry associations, wind energy is regarded as one of the safest forms of electricity generation. At the end of 2011 there was 237,669 MW of installed wind energy capacity around the world. Wind energy is a leading source of new electricity globally and is operating in more than 89 countries.
Wind power and other renewables can play a significant role in a new global “green economy” while also helping mitigate climate change between now and 2050, according to an exhaustive new report released on Monday.
Produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the 624-page report identified the energy industry as one of the key sectors that will underpin a green economy.
The report said investing 2% of global GDP into the key sectors “can kick-start a transition towards a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy” that replaces the “existing, resource-depleting, high carbon ‘brown’ economy” by mid-century.
London in Victorian times and beyond was infamous for its thick smog, caused by the extensive burning of coal industrially and domestically, which cloaked the city and made its inhabitants ill. A century or so down the line, the air of Europe’s cities may not be quite so polluted, but we still appear to have a lurking appetite for coal, and a growing appetite for gas.
In 2010, Europe installed more coal power plants than it decommissioned for the second time in 12 years. EWEA’s 2010 statistics show that while 1,550 MW of coal capacity was taken offline, 4,056 MW were added. Simply put, we added 2.5 GW of coal – the equivalent of about five new power plants.
At a time when the EU rightly prides itself on its leading role in international climate negotiations, its world-class renewable energy industry and forward-thinking climate and energy legislation; when more wind and other zero-carbon power capacity is installed in Europe year on year; when a majority of EU citizens are alarmed by the reality of climate change; it is worrying that we are installing more of the world’s dirtiest, most harmful fossil fuel.