English university prepares to bond with wind power

» By | Published 18 Jan 2011 |

In a time of great unrest at British universities over tuition increases and programme cutbacks, it’s gratifying to note that at least one respected post-secondary institution is turning to wind power to lessen its carbon footprint.

According to its website, the University of Nottingham has recently unveiled plans for three wind turbines near Clifton Bridge on the River Trent which, if approved, would supply green electricity directly to its University Park campus.

The turbines, which would meet one-third of the electricity needs of the campus, could reduce the university’s carbon emissions by 7,000 tonnes per year, equating to 40% of the reductions target it has set itself by 2015.


How does a wind turbine work?

» By | Published 20 Dec 2010 |

If you’ve ever asked yourself, or want to show someone else, how a wind turbine works, check out EWEA’s easy-to-use interactive tool.

It allows you to play with the three main variables that determine how much electricity a wind turbine can produce:

The wind speed: Stronger winds produce more energy. Wind turbines generate energy at wind speeds starting from 4 metres per second (a gentle breeze) up to speeds of 30 metres per second (a violent storm). Over 30 metres per second (which happens rarely), the turbine is stopped from turning.


Global Wind Day in Italy – over 80% of Italians want more wind power

» By | Published 17 Jun 2010 |

Some 87% of Italians are in favour of more wind energy in their country, new research unveiled on Global Wind Day at an event in the Villa Borghese in Rome showed. Economic development and job creation were among the top reasons cited for their positivity.

“At Global Wind Day we want to reiterate the importance of renewable energies as one of the key solutions to the economic and climate crisis,” Edoardo Zanchini from Legambiente, an Italian environment group, said.

In another piece of good news for Italian-produced wind power, Simone Togni, Secretary General of the Italian Wind Energy Association, announced to an audience gathered for Global Wind Day in Rome that by 2011, wind energy will provide electricity to 10 million Italians.

By 2020, wind energy will meet 7% of Italy’s energy needs, saving 19,250,460 tonnes of CO2 a year and 37,770,559 barrels of oil, he estimated.

During the first half of 2010, the sector employed 1,000 more people compared to the previous year, bringing the total number of jobs in wind energy in Italy to 25,530 – a growth that continues despite the economic crisis, ANEV said at the event.

”This is the outcome of many years of hard work and the recognition of an energy that moved from being marginal to being a mass producer of electricity,” Oreste Vigorito, ANEV President, said.

From bike tours through wind farms to a kite-surfing contest, Global Wind Day attracted attention across the whole of Italy.


1,000 turbine landmark reached

» By | Published 28 May 2010 |

EWEA’s campaign to support the development of wind energy across Europe reached a new high this week: over 1,000 turbines have now been adopted by citizens across Europe.

Campaign leader, Elke Zander, was at the European Maritime days event in Gijon, Northern Spain last week where her campaign received a positive welcome. “It is very encouraging to see people are interested to learn about our campaign and are keen to adopt turbines to support it,” she said.

Spain is also still the winner when it comes to the total number of turbines adopted, with 188 turbines already claimed, but Global Wind Day – the next big event – could well change that.

Zander is now looking forward to Global Wind Day on 15 June, designed to spread the message about the benefits of wind energy all over the world. Events will take place throughout the globe and EWEA is certain to make a big splash in Brussels by putting up a wind turbine blade on Rond Point Schuman from 1-15 June.

To adopt a turbine and find out more about the campaign, click here.
To find out what’s going on near you for Global Wind Day, click here.


World’s first 6 MW turbine park

» By | Published 25 May 2010 |

Eleven turbine towers, six of which are already connected to the electricity grid providing power to thousands of homes, stand tall and proud on the Levant de Mons plateau near Estinnes, Belgium. It’s a grey, cold day when we visit and the wind’s obvious strength is turning the blades at a consistent rate of knots.

What’s different about these turbines is the sheer amount of power they can produce – at 6 MW each they are the largest ever to be installed on land. Once all these impressive machines are connected to the grid, they will provide power for 50,000 homes – more than enough to keep the lights on in nearby town Mons.

Built by Enercon, these E-126 turbines sit on a 27 metre-large concrete foundation and are connected to the electricity grid via 11km of underground cables. Installing them requires one of the world’s largest cranes and hefty lorries capable of transporting the turbine and its components from the factory in Germany to the farm in Belgium.

We pick our way through the pools of mud surrounding the turbines and go inside a turbine tower where the noise of electricity-generation is intense. The tower is 131 metres tall and inside is a panel indicating just how much electricity is being produced at the time, wind speed and direction, and whether or not the turbine is connected to the grid. WindVision, the company developing the project, estimates that annually the Estinnes turbines will produce 187,000,000 kWh of electricity.

Back outside and close-up to the tower, today, the noise is no louder than the sound of the wind or traffic passing on the nearby main road. In addition, turbines are now slowed down at night to reduce sound from the wind turbines reaching residents.

Local children have already adorned the grey towers with wind-friendly messages such as “les éoliennes, c’est cool,” and “je suis folle des éoliennes.”

Once the Estinnes park has been completed, WindVision hopes 6 MW turbines will be installed across Europe.