Continuing with the series of “wind energy stories” from around the world, in association with Global Wind Day, Chris Rose from Vancouver speaks with fellow Canadian Chris Forrest.
As a student in Ottawa, Chris Forrest admits he was a bit of a “class clown” interested in writing, music and other creative pursuits. Maths and science did not engage him at all. As a young man, Forrest drifted into newspaper journalism and later the murky but thrilling world of writing crime novels.
Now, at 41, he appreciates the effort, the stamina and the discipline required to reach and hold an audience. And well he should considering he is Vice-President of Communications and Public Affairs with the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).
“Communications is at the very core and heart of what we are doing,” said Forrest, who has been involved with the Canadian wind energy industry since 2008.
By Fran Witt, Renewable World
One kilowatt may not seem like a lot – some heaters in the West use this much energy every hour. But in Songambele, Tanzania, comparatively little energy is going a long way.
Renewable World, the UK based charity who work to provide renewable energy to remote communities in the developing world, is helping the off-grid community of Songambele to power itself out of poverty.
Climate change has impacted its 21,000 inhabitants, with crops becoming increasingly difficult to grow, resulting in adults and children working longer hours for smaller wages. Today, power provided by a new wind turbine is being used to improve crop yields directly by pumping water for irrigation. This enables children to spend more time at school and provides both time and opportunities for adults to expand their skill-sets.
Together with Tanzanian partners ALIN, and local wind power firm Wind Power Serengeti, Renewable World has established a wind/solar hybrid system which powers a Maarifa (information technology) Centre. In addition to solar panels, a 1kw wind turbine has been installed to power the Centre, to provide additional power for productive uses, such as access to modern information technology services. The 12 metre tall horizontal axis turbine is locally produced and is designed to cut in at low wind speeds. It produces an average of 3kwH of energy per day.
An image from the Wake-up Call app
The global temperature is rising. Freak weather events are multiplying. Climate change is happening.
And yet governments are giving $6 to polluting fossil fuels for every $1 dollar that goes to clean renewables.
World leaders must move now to renewable, clean energy sources like wind energy. And with the new Global Wind Day app you can tell them to do it and why.
On 17 and 18 June, leaders of the governments of the world’s eight wealthiest countries are meeting in the UK. The leaders of these countries, such as Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and François Hollande, are ultimately responsible for the continuing and growing support for dirty fossil fuels given by their governments. Such subsidies are up nearly 30% from 2010 to $523bn in 2011 (IEA, 2012) compared to $88bn for renewables.
Ambassador Tom Hanney
Irish Ambassador to the European Union Tom Hanney is in the throes of a six month stint at the heart of decision making in Brussels, as Ireland currently holds the EU Presidency. The Deputy Permanent Representative says holding the Presidency is “a marathon, from January to June”. We met him to find out about Irish commitments to wind energy and why they have given so much support to Global Wind Day this year.
What motivated the Irish Presidency of the EU to support Global Wind Day 2013?
From a national point of view, wind energy is very important to Ireland. In the Irish government’s Renewable Energy Strategy, wind is identified as a key resource.
We have a lot of wind sweeping over the country given our geographical location. An increasing amount of our energy is produced from wind. We are committed to reaching our renewable energy targets under EU energy policy and we will be a net wind exporter. Overall, wind is a very important resource for Ireland and an increasing one, so therefore we support Global Wind Day.
Ireland is not on track for EU emissions targets and the reductions, but is well on track for our 20:20:20 commitment – that 20% of your energy has to be produced from renewable energy sources by 2020. We are at around 18% at the moment.
Do you think the EU needs 2030 renewable energy targets, similar to the 2020 targets?
In association with Global Wind Day, photographer Robert van Waarden travels to three different communities in Romania that have been inspired by wind energy. Read their stories below, and think about submitting your own wind energy inspired story and photo to the Global Wind Day 2013 photo competition which closes on 12 May!
Mayor of Progresu and Fácáeni
Roşu Nuţi was born in Progresu and has been the mayor here for 10 years. Her ambitious spirit is apparent the moment she walks in a room and if you need proof of how hard she works, one glance at her overflowing desk should help.
When Roşu first heard about the plan to construct a 44 turbine wind farm in the community, she immediately saw the benefits. However, as is always the case with something new in a community, there was some confusion and pessimism among the citizens.
Roşu spent a lot of energy organising and convincing the village that this was a good idea. Eventually they came around and ground will be broken on the project this year.
For Progresu and Fácáeni the money injected into the local economy will have a clear benefit. Infrastructure here is underdeveloped: roads are poor and horse-and-cart is still the mode of transport for many. Any local jobs that are created will be welcome in a village with an unemployment rate of 45%.
“The earth won’t be able to give us fossil fuels for eternity, and when we take into account the nuclear plant nearby, we prefer to have a field of turbines,” says Roşu.