Coal’s hidden health costs: 40 billion euros a year

» By | Published 03 May 2013 |
Fiddlers Ferry power station, UK

Fiddlers Ferry power station, UK

Coal-fired power stations cost the European Union up to €42.8 billion a year in health costs associated with coal-fired power stations, a new report says.

The study — ‘The Unpaid Health Bill: How coal power plants make us sick’ — also found that EU-wide impacts amount to more than 18,200 premature deaths, about 8,500 new cases of chronic bronchitis, and over four million lost working days each year.

Published by the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), the study said the figures for mortality increase to 23,300 premature deaths, or 250,600 life years lost, while the total costs are up to €54.7 billion annually when emissions from coal power plants in Croatia, Serbia and Turkey are included.

The use of coal in power generation in Europe is on the rise again and that there are about 50 new coal power plants currently in the pipeline, said the study.


IEA Chief Economist: governments “stealing money from the poor”

» By | Published 30 Apr 2013 |
Fatih Birol, Opening Session, EWEA 2013 in Vienna.

Fatih Birol, Opening Session, EWEA 2013 in Vienna.

By subsidising fossil fuels, governments are “stealing money from the pockets of the poor, who would get money otherwise for schools and hospitals”.

So says Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency, in the latest issue of Wind Directions.

Fossil fuels get over half a trillion US dollars – six times more than renewables, but 80% of this money goes to households with high and middle incomes, he says.

He adds that if renewable energy subsidies are used intelligently, “they can help kick-off renewables projects which would help us to reduce environmental problems and at the same time help to improve the energy security of countries and help to get jobs in the renewables sector.”

Read the full interview in Wind Directions


Wind energy is bright light in an otherwise grim report

» By | Published 24 Apr 2013 |

Maria van der Hoeven, IEA

The continued expansion of wind power, coupled with a decrease in costs for the emissions-free electricity-generating technology, was one of the few positive notes in a new International Energy Agency (IEA) report on efforts to create a low-carbon world.

The IEA report, which was presented in India last week to the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), said that wind power capacity grew by 19% from 2011 to 2012 despite ongoing economic problems.

In its report, Tracking Clean Energy Progress, the IEA described onshore wind power as “one of the most cost-competitive renewable energy sources” and noted generation from 2000 to 2011 increased by 400 TWh (+27% per year), reaching an estimated 435 TWh in 2011.

By 2017, the report said, onshore wind generation is expected to reach almost 1,000 TWh.


A hat-trick is the goal in the football and energy fields

» By | Published 23 Apr 2013 |

120921910Football fans know the value of a hat-trick – the triumvirate of goals that prove success for any striker. Though difficult to achieve, the hat-trick is worth striving for.

The European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) also wants to score a hat-trick. Their new publication proposes three targets to drive EU energy policy after 2020: renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency.

“This would yield more benefits for European citizens and industries than a one-legged policy” based on a greenhouse gas only approach, say EREC.

“The message is simple: if you want to lower costs, create jobs, replace fossil fuel imports and drive innovation, competitiveness and investment, then a hat-trick of climate and energy goals works best”, said Rainer Hinrich-Rahlwes, President of EREC.


Massive wind power installations could help New York cast off fossil fuels

» By | Published 19 Apr 2013 |
New York City

New York City

Wind energy could play a major role in providing all the power needed for the entire state of New York by 2030, according to a new academic study.

New York’s power demand for all sectors in 17 years time could be met, in part, by 4,020 onshore 5-megawatt wind turbines and 12,770 offshore 5-MW machines, the study by researchers from Cornell, Stanford and the University of California-Davis found.

Harnessing power from water and sunlight would also be part of the alternative energy plan for New York, which has close to 20 million people and is the third most populated state in the US.

“Converting to wind, water and sunlight is feasible, will stabilize costs of energy and will produce jobs while reducing health and climate damage,” study co-author Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, was quoted as saying.