While the U.S. wind market surged and GE Wind was the top producer last year, nations across the pond are finding success with wind turbines as well.
Over the last 20 years in Ireland:
- More than 2,200 jobs have been created in developing wind power.
- The wind sector has contributed a total €83m to councils, money which has been ploughed into the development of regional economies. Last year alone, up to €11.5m was delivered to local county councils through rates.
- A total of €2.8bn has been invested in wind farms, a staggering sum by any standards. In 2011 alone the investment figure was €372m. A further €4bn is expected over the next eight years to meet domestic targets alone.
- Wind is now no longer a niche product across Europe where wind capacity 23 times the national demand of Ireland has been installed. Last year wind energy accounted for more than 15pc of our electricity demand. Wind energy also has the capability to supply 1.3 million homes in Ireland.
In the UK, wind power has topped 5 gigawatts per day and is sufficient to power 10% of total electricity demand. This rough guide to the geology and geography of offshore wind shows that the British Isles have an enormous amount of potential in the North Sea.
In 2012, Scotland’s wind power generation totals increased 19 percent, to comprise 39 percent of the region’s needs. It will only get stronger as a wind farm offshore from a golf course moves forward despite the tweeted protestations of Donald Trump.
This week, the government of Scotland decided to go ahead with a large scale offshore wind farm. Scotland, which has been reffered to as the ‘Silicon Valley’ for wind energy, makes this move in spite of personal and business motivated pleas from Donald Trump.
Nevertheless, Trump vowed to bring a lawsuit to stop the $349 million (USD) development, which consists of 11 wind turbines planned off the coast near Aberdeen in northeastern Scotland. Trump declared: “We will spend whatever monies are necessary to see to it that these huge and unsightly industrial wind turbines are never constructed”, and frequently refers to wind turbines as ‘monstrosities’.
The wind farm, owned by Swedish energy company Vattenfall and a local business consortium, still needs to obtain a marine license and approval for an onshore substation.
And in this piece, EarthTechling notes that wind power is becoming more and more reliable, even during a cold snap:
Wind power is intermittent, and from this fact people assume that it fluctuates wildly from minute to minute. That’s not really the way it works, generally.
Take the period from 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, until that same time the following night in Great Britain. For that 24-hour period, wind was sending at least 5 gigawatts of power to the grid.
Not 1 GW, then 6 GW, then 3 GW. At least 5 GW, the entire time.
“This means that for this 24 hour period wind was generating enough to power the equivalent of nearly 4 out of every 10 UK homes and consistently over 10% of GB’s overall electricity needs,” the trade group RenewableUK said in a statement.
In fact, wind production was in a pretty narrow range the whole time, sustaining at least 5 gigawatts and reaching a peak – and a record for the U.K. – for a half-hour period at 3:30 p.m., at 5.296 GW.
“What this shows is that wind is a stable and reliable source of power generation on the scale we need, when we need it most,” RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffery said.
RenewableUK pointed out some other interesting facts about this remarkable date in U.K. wind power history.
First, it came during a period of cold weather, when demand on gas was high – and the price was high as well (many people in the U.S. forget that our natural gas market is uniquely buyer-friendly right now).
“This then counters the idea that wind does not generate power during cold snaps and comes at the same time as reports that the UK has only 36 hours of gas supplies in reserve, and on the day that the wholesale price of gas in the UK reached a seven year high,” McCaffery said.