The future for offshore wind power in the United Kingdom continues to attract government support with Tuesday’s announcement that Scotland has set up a €80 million investment fund to help secure its place in Europe’s rapidly developing offshore industry.
First Minister Alex Salmond announced that the fund — which, according to a press release, is designed to “strengthen port and manufacturing facilities and supply chain provision for manufacturing offshore wind turbines and related components” — at a RenewableUK conference in Glasgow.
“The offshore wind industry is seeking leadership and immediate support from government and the Scottish government is determined to provide that,” Salmond said.
Imagine a world two decades from now in which a new wind turbine is installed every seven minutes.
That impressive scenario was raised last week in Beijing just before the China Wind Power 2010 conference by Sven Teske, Senior Energy Expert from Greenpeace International.
Teske was commenting on the Global Wind Energy Outlook 2010 report which found wind power could provide about one-fifth of the world’s electricity by 2030.
While many of the EU’s environment ministers are still dithering over a possible move to 30% emissions cuts, it is heartening to see that big businesses are a step ahead.
29 companies, including BNP Paribas, Google, Unilever and Vodafone, have put their names to a declaration calling for tougher climate targets that has been sent to the EU institutions. The declaration supports recent statements from ministers from Denmark, France, Germany and the UK that higher emissions reductions will boost growth and create jobs, a point of view made forcibly by EU Commissioner for Climate Change Connie Hedegaard at an EWEA-organised debate last week in Brussels.
Ironically, the organisation BusinessEurope, which represents EU employers, was claiming almost at the same time that increasing the EU’s emissions reduction target would be “premature and even counterproductive” in a letter to the Belgian EU Presidency. It seems that some in the business community are more far-sighted than others in recognising the huge economic and job creation potential of zero-carbon technologies like wind energy. Certainly EWEA, which has 650 members including many businesses, believes an increase to 30% emissions reductions is crucial for Europe’s economy as well as its environment.
Wind power’s little known ability to save precious amounts of clean drinking water in an increasingly thirsty world, when compared to other sources of electricity generation, was raised this month in Science in Africa, the continent’s first online scientific magazine.
Written by Dr. Garth Cambray, the article noted wind farms are capable of providing a number of benefits for South Africa as the country begins to look to renewable energies to help meet a growing need for electricity in the next few decades.
Cambray said that wind power consumes no water, which is increasingly an important subject in South Africa. “Installing 30,000 MW of wind power would save the amount of water used by a city of 300,000 people. Given that South Africa has currently technically run out of water and cannot guarantee each citizen their constitutional right to clean running water, this saving of water is very important from a human rights perspective,” he said.
A just published report by Greenbang, covered by the Financial Times Energy Source blog, reveals that the market for ‘smart’ electricity in Europe is “set to expand rapidly in coming years” as more and more renewable energy comes online, government initiatives kick-in and overall demand for energy grows.
According to the report, up to 145 million new smart meters will be installed by the end of 2020 with Germany, the UK, Poland, France and Spain leading the way in a market that could be worth $25 billion by 2020. The EU has recently set the objective of installing smart meters in 80% of households across Europe by 2020.
Renewable energies like wind power are variable in nature, and smart management techniques help make their integration into the electricity system more cost-effective. A smart meter device in the home would notify users when electricity demand is high, and when electricity prices are higher, allowing them to switch off devices that do not need continuous electricity such as freezers, or to put the washing machine on at a cheaper time of day.