Thursday, 13 October 2011

Fuel Poverty? Let WIND Blow it Off!

(BBC News Business)

Environmental Sustainability is often seen as a cost rather than revenue, while it actually allows countries to be independent and energetically self-sufficient. In the previous post, there is also a connection to copper recycling, which is practiced, but could be improved even more.  

Let’s say a proposed Wind-Farm is to supply the entire electric power needs of a city, it is important to stress that only because it is an environmentally sustainable project, this will not imply that the inhabitants can consume more energy than usual. A city wastes so much energy in transportation, lighting, heating, air conditioning, home energy, electrical generation and consumables that the potential for savings is still and should continue to be enormous. Note that households use up to 30% of global energy production, and emit 20% of its CO2 emissions.
In order to achieve a greener city, a Wind-Farm is not the only answer; this is why the Green Deal for household energy savings announced by the British government last year is very practical. The scheme allows licensed companies to offer customers credit at no initial cost toward work to make their homes or workplaces more energy-efficient. The loan is paid back in instalments added to the customer's (reduced) energy bill. The logic is simple: since households will not spend for double-glazing or insulation for the environment, they need to be stimulated into efficiency savings with a promise of free cash.
(Stockopedia News)

The Environmental Sustainability industry sector has given birth to an army of entrepreneurs and firms, looking to save energy and make money while doing it. In this way, not only it created a lot of new jobs, but, through its development, it made sustainability to be seen as a valuable investment and source of revenue as well. A recent study for Renewable UK, a trade body, registers that between 2007-08 and 2009-10, jobs in wind-farm construction nearly doubled, to 9,200. Siemens, a German conglomerate, announced plans to spend £80m on a wind-turbine factory in Hull, a city in Yorkshire, creating 700 jobs directly and 500 more in related businesses. Wind-Energy thereby seems to be profitable enough to have the potential to give a city a“new era of prosperity”.
This relatively new industry’s success is also due to the world’s increased urbanization, which increases pollution and therefore the need for sustainable energy supply solutions. This has also been confirmed by the United Nations, which predicts that by 2030, 60 % of the world’s population will live in cities. For example, 40 % of China’s population already lives in urban centers, according to Stanley Yip, director of planning and development for Arup China, an urban development firm.
As a result, growth and survival of such cities might mean building them on the basis of access to renewable energy resources, such as Wind-Farms.
“The chart below shows the five countries that make the greatest use of wind energy. Over the past decade, China's installed wind capacity has grown exponentially, from just 0.3GW in 2000 to 42.3GW last year, and now accounts for 22% of the world’s total wind power capacity. In 2010 it installed more turbines than America (The Economist, 2011).”

(The Economist, 2011)

The above graph is very encouraging, as it shows a very positive trend in the use of wind energy around the world. In Europe, Denmark receives over 20% of its electricity from wind energy, and in 2009, Germany received 7% of its electricity from the wind. Spain, which received 14.5% of its electricity from wind in 2009, has had periods when wind energy provided over 40% of its electricity.
These examples prove that wind power can be a valuable part of a country’s or city’s energy supply and that such installations are reliable and can provide energy without interruption.
Since changes in wind energy output are not immediate, it typically takes over an hour for even a rapid change in wind speeds to shut down a large amount of wind generation, which is a significant benefit. In addition, wind forecasting tools that warn system operators of upcoming wind output variations are becoming widely used and better integrated into system operations.
Therefore, a country like the UK should be considering making a very constructive environmentally sustainable long-term investment for total energy independency
So, if this trend continues we’re going to have to just wrap up and wear jumpers instead of turning the heating on. Get ready!