Turning away from coal, Navajos embrace wind power

» By | Published 28 Oct 2010 |

A number of prominent members of the Navajo Nation, the largest tribe in the US,  are beginning to advocate that economic activity created by wind power and other renewables should begin replacing coal mining on the band’s huge reservation, according to The New York Times.

Carrying the headline “Navajos Hope to Shift From Coal to Wind and Sun”, the NYT story also said that people are increasingly wondering about health and environmental concerns caused by coal mining and coal-fired power plants on the reservation that sprawls across parts of New Mexico, Utah and Arizona.

Published on Monday, the article noted some of the 300,000 people in the Navajo Nation — which covers about 70,000 square kilometers — are now speaking out against the smog, soot, water pollution and health problems long associated with the coal industry.

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UK goes ahead with plans to upgrade ports and promote offshore wind power

» By | Published 21 Oct 2010 |

Maria McCafferyWhile short on details, the UK government’s Spending Review that Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced on Wednesday appears to have understood the vital importance of funding port infrastructure projects aimed at encouraging increased growth in the European offshore wind sector.

Although many national departments face significant funding and personnel cuts, the government did announce it “is committed to reducing the UK’s carbon emissions.”

Part of this commitment was a pledge of “more than [€220 million] for the   development of low carbon technologies including offshore wind technology and manufacturing at port sites.”

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Hard coal receives subsidy set back

» By | Published 23 Jul 2010 |

The European Commission’s move to rein in coal subsidies by suggesting that unprofitable mines be shut down within the next four years has received wide coverage this morning. The move, announced yesterday and set for formal approval in December this year, would see the closure of hard coal mines located mainly in Germany’s Ruhr region, north-west Spain and Romania’s Jiu Valley.

The announcement is a signal that the European Commission firmly believes that renewable energies, including wind power, are the path to a carbon-neutral future:

Renewable, clean energy is the way to go,” said European Commissioner for competition Joaquín Almunia, reported by EurActiv.

Leading environment group WWF said the Commission has finally “stood up to complacent attitudes and acted in the broader European interest”. In total, subsidies to the sector hit €3.2 billion in 2008, down from €6.4 billion in 2003, the Financial Times noted in its article.

The Ecocentric blog described coal subsidies as the “dirty secret of fossil fuels.” Coal receives tax payer support “even in environmentally friendly Europe.”

But the Commission’s proposal could hit opposition from some countries in Europe that are heavily reliant on hard coal. According to the New York Times Green Blog about a month ago, Spain, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania want to keep coal subsidies while the industry also employs around 100,000 people across Europe.

Meanwhile, EWEA foresees the creation of around 250,000 new jobs in the European wind industry by 2020.

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Save the planet by selling a wind turbine

» By | Published 03 Jun 2010 |

You have to think that the wind energy industry has entered a new level of public acceptance when a popular American company which specialises in financial information publishes a story promoting the environmental and economic benefits of the emissions-free sector.

In a story headlined “5 green jobs for saving the planet,” Bankrate, Inc. says becoming a wind power salesperson is increasingly appealing to many people, especially considering that the Internal Revenue Service provides tax credits for up to 30% of renewable energy systems.

“Most people want to go green. But if you are going green and saving money at the same time, it’s a really good incentive,” says Loree Long in the story by Bankrate, which describes itself as the Web’s leading aggregator of financial rate information. According to the story, Long, co-owner of wind-turbine sales company Win-Gen Power in Weatherford, Texas, says she and husband Ted, who have installed a wind turbine on their own property, sell an average of one system per month.

The other green jobs identified as helping to save the planet include being a green teacher, a green civil and/or mechanical engineer, a home energy auditor, and a weatherization expert.

“At a time when many career paths seem to be losing ground, green jobs seem to be on the upswing,” the story notes, adding a study released last year by the U.S. Green Building Council estimates that environmentally-friendly construction projects will add 7.9 million green jobs and $554 billion to the American economy by 2012.

Long’s story is yet again more proof that the global wind power industry is reaching new levels of popularity because it can simultaneously provide increasing amounts of green electricity for a growing world, provide tens of thousands of well-paying new jobs and help mitigate environmental damage caused by burning fossil fuels.

Taken together, wind power is indeed helping to save the planet.

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Wind power on Earth Day

» By | Published 23 Apr 2010 |

US President Barack Obama was promoting wind power on Earth Day. Saying that Americans have worked hard to clean up the environment in the past 40 years, Obama said there is still much to do.

As a result and calling it a “historic step,” he said the Department of the Interior is announcing for the first time the leasing of federal waters to projects such as wind power facilities and other clean technologies that can generate green electricity, especially off the east coast of the US.

“It is estimated that if we fully pursue our potential for wind energy on land and offshore, wind can generate as much as 20% of our electricity by 2030 and create . . . 250,000 jobs in the process, jobs that pay well and provide good benefits,” Obama said.

“It’s a win-win. It’s good for the environment and great for the economy,” he said.

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