Global Wind Day on 15 June – the annual day for discovering wind power – is fast approaching.
Continuing with the “wind energy stories” series Robert van Waarden, photographer and wind energy enthusiast, travels to the Czech Republic to uncover the personal stories behind wind energy.
High on a wind turbine, hidden amongst the cherry orchards and the wheat fields of Eastern Czech Republic, is a painting of a raven with a piece of bread in its mouth. The prophet St. Elias the Tishbite was kept alive by ravens feeding him bread when he was hidden in the desert. This is the St. Elias wind turbine and it belongs to the Pravoslavná Akademie Vilémov, a non-profit Orthodox NGO specialised in renewable energy.
“Everything was given to us by God to survive,’ says Roman Juriga, director of the Akademie, “that includes the energy and the capacity to create energy, that is why we have named our turbine St. Elias.”
Belgium’s supreme health council (Conseil Supérieur de la Santé, CSS) – a scientific body which advises the government – has called for a “reflection” on the development of wind energy, citing apparent health concerns.
The CSS would do well to note that an increasing body of evidence exists showing that there is no link between wind turbines and adverse health effects.
In 2010 the Australian Government National Health Medical Research Council concluded: “there are no direct pathological effects from wind farms and that any potential impact on humans can be minimised by following existing planning guidelines.” In January 2012 a study for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said: “there is insufficient evidence that noise from wind turbines is directly…causing health problems or disease.”
Thomas Becker, EWEA CEO.
“Gas, coal and nuclear have more political clout than the wind industry”, and the industry has to take a “more visible place in the political landscape.”
So writes EWEA’s new CEO Thomas Becker in the latest Wind Directions.
“The big boys did not see nice ‘alternative’ wind as a threat. Now they do. As old power plants face closure the competition between technologies to fill the gap is intense.
Becker calls for European and national associations to “speak with one voice.”
“Gone are the days when economic growth made expansion easy for all technologies. The associations of the wind industry need to big up – like turbines have. Like the grid we need to be better interconnected: European and national associations must work together much more closely to shape national government and EU energy policy.”
Read the full article in the latest Wind Directions
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.
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