Installed wind power capacity continued to grow around the world last year despite the ongoing financial uncertainty with Europe remaining the number one regional leader, according to a new report.
Europe’s installed wind capacity increased by 10,281 MW to 96,616 MW by the end of 2011, the Global Wind Energy Council’s (GWEC) annual statistics show. In the EU, the new total was 93,957 MW.
Asia was the second place regional leader with 21,298 additional MW of installed wind capacity, bringing its cumulative total to 82,398 MW. North America was in third place with an additional 8,077 MW last year increasing its total capacity to 52,184 MW.
Austria will lead Europe when it comes to sourcing the highest percentage of electricity from renewable sources in 2020, according to recent analysis carried out by EWEA. The small, mountainous nation will source an impressive 71% of its electricity from renewables.
Next in line will be Sweden – set to source 63% of its electricity from renewables by 2020, followed by Latvia – 60%, Portugal – 55% and Denmark – 54%. At the other end of the scale, Poland, Estonia, Cyprus, Malta, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg and Hungary are all set to cover less than 20% of their electricity needs with renewable electricity.
Having witnessed first-hand the impact of rising sea levels in the south Pacific due to climate change, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called again on Wednesday for rapid international action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In a joint statement in Auckland with leaders of Pacific island nations, Ban noted that climate change is one of the greatest threats to people living in the region.
The statement “emphasized the need for an ambitious reduction of greenhouse gas emissions sufficient to enable the survival and viability of all Pacific Small Island Developing States.” It also called for the UNFCCC COP 17 meeting in Durban, South Africa in December “to deliver a comprehensive outcome persistent with this objective.”
Can you imagine something 100 metres tall? That’s the length of one football pitch, four normal public swimming pools, or the height of a basketball hoop from the floor, 33 times over.
That’s how high the offshore turbines being installed today are. And Europe is installing more and more of them in its waters – 101 were put up and grid connected in the first six months of 2011 alone.
A recent survey revealed that renewable energy development comes second as a priority for cooperation between EU Member States after the stability of energy prices. 27% of respondents to a Eurobarometer survey chose renewables as the number one priority, with the group supporting energy price stability just fractionally bigger, at 29%.
And in response to another set of questions, twice as many Europeans thought that in the event of a supply crisis, they would be better protected by coordinated EU rather than national measures (60% against 32%).
Yet this distinction between cooperation priorities is somewhat arbitrary given that renewable energy can and does stabilise prices by providing energy at a knowable cost, unlike oil and gas which have to be imported and whose prices go up and down.