Wind power 'enjoying a bumper year'

Wind power 'enjoying a bumper year'

Wind power 'enjoying a bumper year'

Interest in generating wind power across Europe appears to be growing, with one organisation reporting very favourable figures for installations during the first half of this year.

WindEurope, the industry body promoting wind power for the continent, said a total of 4.8 GW of onshore wind capacity has been installed so far in 2017, with Germany, the UK and France leading the way at 2.2 GW, 1.2 GW and 492 MW respectively.

In addition, 1.3 GW of offshore wind capacity was also installed through 18 projects in Germany, the UK, Belgium and Finland, resulting in what the organisation called a 'bumper year' so far.

Some €8.3 billion (£7.4 billion) had been invested in new asset financing covering both onshore and offshore facilities.

WindEurope's chief policy officer Pierre Tardieu said: "We are on track for a good year in wind capacity installations."

However, he did warn that growth is being driven by "a handful of markets", with at least ten EU countries not having installed any wind power facilities yet this year.

"Member states should come forward as soon as possible with their National Energy and Climate Plans to 2030. In combination with the three-year auctioning schedule proposed by the European Commission, the national plans will give sorely needed visibility to the wind energy supply chain," he added.

Increasing worldwide commitment to wind powerThe news comes after it was revealed that America had installed 908 utility-scale turbines in the first quarter of 2017, the wind industry's strongest start since 2009.

Many big-name businesses across the globe are increasingly showing their commitment to the generation of renewable energy. For example, JPMorgan Chase said just last month that it will rely solely on renewables by 2020 across its properties in more than 60 countries.

It intends to do this by installing more generators, signing power purchase agreements with renewable energy projects and lowering its own energy consumption.

Chief executive Jamie Dimon said: "Business must play a leadership role in creating solutions that protect the environment and grow the economy."

In the UK, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy recently released data showing that renewables' share of electricity generation was 26.6 per cent for the first quarter of 2017, up one per cent on last year.

Renewable electricity capacity across the UK had reached 36.9 GW by the end of the first three months of the year, registering growth of 12 per cent.

Benefits for businesses
Although this might seem quite abstract, the potential benefits for businesses of renewable energy in general and wind power in particular can be tangible.

The more investment that is placed in green energy, the better the capacity and the lower the costs, which makes it more affordable for smaller companies as well as multinational conglomerates.

After all, around 40 per cent of the wind energy in Europe blows over the UK and so it's the ideal place for micro-wind turbines if they are also affordable.

What's more, a typical, building-mounted system can easily generate more power than your business's lights and computers use, resulting in lower utility bills and perhaps even money-making through Feed-in Tariffs, as well as the storage of unused electricity in batteries for low-wind times.

A necessary investment
With the Met Office's latest State of the Climate report stating that the UK experienced its 13th hottest year in more than a century in 2016, can businesses really afford to be ignoring renewable energy? 

Perhaps it's time to follow the European trend and look into wind power installation as investment for the future - and as responsible custodians of the planet.

Posted by William Rodriguez

Image courtesy of iStock/shansekala