Renewable energy is essential to modern society – reducing harmful emissions from fossil fuels and making us more self sufficient. This site will explore what people are doing to help get us closer to a greener, renewable energy sourced world Read more »
Bacardi have installed 2 wind turbines at their factory in Puerto Rico according to a report by BerNews this week.
The two 250 kW wind turbines owned by Aspenall Energies are expected to provide 7 percent of the Bacardi distillery’s needs and offset over 900 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.Read: Wind Powered Rum
This month’s Time magazine ran a feature on the ‘Heroes of the Environment’. The feature celebrated those contributing towards green initiatives all over the globe.
The Times report identified and congratulated individuals and groups from those who have brought about sustainability codes for big corporations to developers of new nuclear lazer fusion technology.
My first prize for the ‘most effective’ Heroe(s) of the Environment goes to the residents of Vauben.
Vauben is an urban area on the edge of the city of Freiburg in Germany. The district’s own residents decided to physically ban cars from their own streets and also garages attached to individual houses. As a result of taking the rules into their own hands a car parking space in the district will set a resident back a whopping US $30,000. According to Time, the result is a car ownership rate of 220 cars per 1000 residents compared with 520 cars per 1000 residents in the wider Freiburg area and much higher rates in other European cities. Residents believe that there is now more space for community life without the cars.Read: Vauben- The Renewable Energy Powered Car Free District
San Francisco based company Makani Power is aiming high with its idea to develop green electricity from kites.
In this TED presentation, Makani Power’s Saul Griffith says that commercial wind turbines are restricted from utilising the full potential of wind energy because the towers cannot be constructed higher than circa 100 metres high. He says a kite system is much better because it can capture increased wind energy at higher altitudes.
The company is currently developing control systems for a robot to fly the kite for sustained periods of time. What is not explained in the presentation or on Makani’s website is how much space you need to operate the kite, how you stop it getting tangled with the next kite along, how you make it robust and how you stop it being whipped away by passing air traffic. Good luck guys…Read: New Wind Energy Kites
Westmills wind farm is officially popular with its local community according to a recent report by the BBC. Westmills is the first 100% community owned wind energy project in the south of England and provides for the needs of around 2500 homes.
The five turbine wind farm is located within half a mile of the village of Westmills in South Oxfordshire, England. The turbines started generating electricity in February of last year after a long planning haul patiently negotiated by landowner Adam Twine. More than 200 local people bought into the wind farm co-operative and now receive a financial return on their investment.Read: Community supports Westmills Wind Farm
Alternative proposals to maximise the potential of wind energy have recently been prominent in the news. The people of El Hierro propose to use excess power from wind energy to run a hydro project which will in turn generate electricity when there is no wind energy available.
Xcel Energy is the biggest purchaser of wind generated electricity in the US and has chosen to investigate the possibilities of energy storage. It has installed a 1 MW sodium-sulphur battery within the Minwind wind farm in Minnesota with the aim of managing excess energy more flexibly.Read: Xcel Wind Energy Battery Results
Community owned wind energy projects have started to appear in England, Scotland and Germany over the last few years. Many wind energy companies are starting to run schemes where local people can invest in their local wind energy project and in some cases individual wind energy operators are selling 100% of the shares to community investors.Read: Invest in Your Local Wind Energy Project
William Kamkwamba from Tanzania made his first wind turbine at age 14. This TED interview explains how he did it using spare parts and a library book. William’s next wind energy project is a larger turbine to power an irrigation system in his village.Read: How I Made My First Wind Turbine – Age 14
The Spanish Island of Hierro may well become energy self sufficient over the next few years. In this video Gonzalo Piernovieja, Research and Development Director at the Canarias Technology Institute talks about the renewable energy project which in a few years time could generate 80% of the Island’s electricity requirements.Read: El Hierro – The Future Self Sufficient Island
In the UK taxpayers hard earned cash is being spent on public inquiries often unnecessarily brought about by nimbys. Income tax which goes to the treasury is being used to fund the Planning Inspectorate who manage public inquiries for wind farms when they are refused locally and council tax funds are used to fund local planning authority’s who decide they want to pay for barristers and expert consultants to fight renewable energy projects because the vocal minority decide they do not like a project.
As an example a 10 turbine wind energy project near Bradwell on Sea on the coast of Essex, England was granted planning consent in 2007.Read: Taxpayers to Fund Nimbys Second Wind Farm Inquiry
Several weeks ago an adventurous team of people set off for Robert Swan’s conservation e-base in Antarctica to examine the further potential for renewable energy. The picture below is of the 2041 e-base team installing a wind turbine to power the base. The idea of the concept is to demonstrate that if you can live and work off green electricity in Antarctica, you can do so anywhere in the world.
The team have christened the new wind turbine ‘Paula’ after the UK greatest long distance runner and marathon world record holder, Paula Radcliffe.Read: Wind Energy Powers Antarctic Conservation Base
If you have a wind energy project proposed close to where you live it can sometimes be difficult to establish what the potential implications on you personally might be. There is no substitute for doing your own research and the best way to do this is to go and see a wind farm and if possible talk to the neighbours.
This video talks about the role of renewable energy and specifically wind energy in New York. It features first-hand accounts from people living near wind farms and also experts in the energy and the environment fields.Read: People Living Close to Wind Farms
It is cheap and easy to change a few light bulbs to the energy efficient kind but what can you do to make more of an energy saving impact?
Dale Vince from Ecotricity gave the Telegraph some tips using the example of improving his own stone house in rural Gloucestershire. In the interview Dale said…Read: How to Save Energy in Your Old House
Shoppers from Dudley to Somerset in the UK are seeing new ‘work of art’ wind turbines generate electricity for Tesco supermarkets. The 6kW “Ropatec” wind turbines have two vertically driven rotors instead of the usual propeller blades on a horizontal axis. Vertical axis turbines are notorious for not being as productive as horizontal axis turbines as they do not have those large surface areas to capture the wind power that long blades provide.Read: How Effective are Small Scale Wind Turbines for Tesco Stores?
If you are thinking of hosting a wind farm on your land, check out the following You Tube video for the views and experiences of one farmer.Read: Wind Farm Landowner Experience
If you are interested in DIY household renewables, check out windysolar’s series of videos describing how he has successfully made his own wind turbine. He has also installed his own solar panels.Read: How to Install Solar Panels
Interview with Bob Bridges Since B&Q and other retail outlets started to sell micro – renewable technology in their stores, the debate as to whether different technologies are productive has escalated rapidly in the press. Bob Bridges did his research and constructed a “stand- alone” wind turbine to provide electricity for his farm in Cornwall. [...]Read: Case Study – Stand-alone 6kW Wind Turbine (Proven)