How noisy are wind turbines really?

» By | Published 20 Feb 2013 |

It’s not easy to measure wind turbine noise as background noise from rainfall to traffic interferes with the results, says the latest Wind Directions based on a recent EWEA workshop. In fact, that background noise – including the wind itself – is usually louder than the sound of the turbines.

At least 17 peer-reviewed studies have found that there is no adverse effect on human health linked to turbine noise.

However, people’s concerns about wind turbine noise must be taken seriously. “Developers must also show respect by answering questions and listening to fears,” said Jeremy Bass, Senior Technical Manager at RES.

Read the full article in Wind Directions now.


EWEA and GWEC launch 2013 Global Wind Day photo competition

» By | Published 15 Feb 2013 |

By Kara Perconti

Are you creative with your camera and have a passion for wind energy? Then you might be keen to enter EWEA’s 2013 photo competition for Global Wind Day, giving yourself the chance to win a €1,000 Amazon voucher!

Following the success of last year’s hugely popular Global Wind Day photo competition, this year we are launching a photo competition with a twist: we are looking for entrants to submit a photo accompanied by a short story about wind energy describing to us what wind energy means to you.

Do you have a story to tell about wind energy? Whether you simply think wind turbines are attractive, or you think wind energy is the future, or, you work in the sector and want to tell us your story, supplement a photo submission with a short text. Tell us of a time when wind energy inspired you or sparked your attention, we want to know!


EWEA’s 2013 Annual Event sounds notes of caution and optimism

» By | Published 11 Feb 2013 |
Fatih Birol and Pat Rabbitte at the EWEA 2013 press conference

Fatih Birol and Pat Rabbitte at the EWEA 2013 press conference

With the highest-level movers and shakers of the wind energy world, and greatly influential politicians and analysts including International Energy Agency Chief Economist Fatih Birol, EWEA’s 2013 Annual Event hit the renewable energy headlines this year.

It was the event at which Birol called fossil fuel subsidies “public enemy number one”, while Christian Kjaer EWEA’s CEO drew attention to the €470 billion the EU paid for fossil fuel imports last year, and the time when industry CEOs were honest about the impact of the financial and economic crisis on their company’s fortunes.

Speaking from Vienna, Pat Rabbitte, Irish Energy Minister, called for a fresh EU renewable energy target to replace the current one which expires in 2020 of 45% by 2030 – and so did Anni Podimata, Vice President of the European Parliament. Austrian Environment Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich said that his country aims to be 100% energy self-sufficient by 2050, while Hasan Murat Mercan, Turkey’s Deputy Energy Minister, spoke of high wind energy ambitions and a rapidly growing sector.


Wind power still hiring despite jobs crisis

» By | Published 08 Feb 2013 |
Anni Podimata, VP of European Parliament

Anni Podimata, VP of European Parliament

Unemployment is plaguing Europe, and just this week Anni Podimata, Vice President of the European Parliament told delegates attending EWEA’s 2013 Annual Event in Vienna that youth unemployment has reached “unprecedented levels.”

But despite the jobs crisis, one sector – wind power – said yesterday that it still needs to hire more than 5,000 workers per year in order to fill a considerable skills shortage in the industry.

“By 2030 there could be a skills gap of 15,000 workers if current hiring levels continue,” Andrew Garrard, Chairman of renewable energy consultancy GL Garrard Hassan, told journalists attending a press conference in Vienna. “We are going to 400 GW [of wind power capacity] by 2030 – and that takes a lot of people,” Henning Kruse from Siemens and Chairman of TPWind, added.


What do a tea bag and a wind turbine have in common?

» By | Published 07 Feb 2013 |

Martin Fliegenschnee-Jaksch

Martin Fliegenschnee-Jaksch makes a habit of setting light to tea bags. It’s not a strange form of arson but a way of demonstrating thermal lift to children at the schools he visits to talk about wind energy. The tea bag, once lit, zooms up into the air – just as a turbine blade will rise up and start to turn as the wind passes over it, he told participants at the EWEA 2013 Annual Event in Vienna on Thursday.

He was speaking at a session on social acceptance, at which presenters discussed ways to communicate on wind energy and to improve public support for it.

Tomas Soderland from PowerQuest in Sweden presented a “code of conduct” that had been drawn up for wind energy developers, in order to show their commitments to “ethical standards” and in doing so get support from local stakeholders like farmers associations, he said. Could the whole European industry join together to draw up a wider code of conduct, he wondered?