For many reasons, counting on wind is an increasingly positive choice
The numbers on the wind counter assembled for the thousands of people who attended EWEC 2009 under sunny skies in Marseille last week were, quite simply, irrefutable, muscular and thrilling.
The counter indicated that, on average, 45 turbines had been installed by the European wind power industry between the time EWEC opened March 16 at 10 a.m. and closed four days later at 4:30 p.m.
During the same time frame, it showed wind power in Europe had generated over 1.3 billion kWh of electricity, attracted more than 89 million Euros in investment, and saved at least 1.1 million tonnes of CO₂.
Those figures represent new European wind power jobs, an increase in local and affordable green electricity, considerable investment in technology and research, and major savings in greenhouse gas emissions associated with global warming caused by burning fossil fuels.
But they are also symbolic of a revolutionary new era that is required to replace the old and failed business-as-usual approach of creating energy to power our lives through the destructive and inefficient use of oil and coal.
Arthouros Zervos, president of the European Wind Energy Association, pointed to further evidence of wind power’s role in this much-needed global transformation during his closing remarks at EWEC last Thursday.
“In 2008, we installed 8,454 MW of wind capacity, making up 36% of power installations,” Zervos said. “That was more than any other power generating technology. There are good reasons for the wind sector’s top spot: the range of benefits it offers to European citizens is unmatched by any other energy source.”
Here are several other figures that are indicative of the rise in popularity of wind power. More than 7,500 participants made their way under the swaying palm trees to last week’s EWEC event, by far the largest turnout yet for Europe’s premier wind energy conference. In all, there were about 1,900 delegates and 5,600 exhibition visitors. The exhibition covered 10,000m2 and featured 390 companies, making it three times bigger than a year earlier in Brussels.
If ever there was any hesitation for policy makers, investors and citizens to fully embrace the power of wind, that time has come and gone.
In addition to breathing new life into an old equation, and as a result of the quite remarkable plethora of benefits it provides, the rapidly growing wind power industry brings some considerable certainty to our currently uncertain times.
The message now, the ideology for the future, is clear, unavoidable and upbeat: You can not only count on wind, you can bank on it too.