Clean Energy Investing, Sustainable Architecture, Music Art Culture

Popular Posts

Search Alternative Energy Info; Green Power Investments Mutual Funds

Find ecologically sustainable green energy, clean power funds, alternative energy technology stocks, green investing news, manufacturers of photovoltaic solar electricity panels, renewable energy products, solar power investments, thin-film solar, green technology ETFs, wind turbine companies, geothermal stocks and much more!!!

Custom Search

Solar-Intelligence Blog; Conscious Living, Smart Investing

Best Green Stocks Investing Blog

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Windpower is both an environmental and economic solution


A Free Fuel That Tackles Oil Price Rises

by Corin Millais, Outgoing EWEA Chief Executive

Conventional economic wisdom goes something like this. Traditional energy is cheap and renewable energy expensive. Therefore we should 'wait' until the day renewables become cost competitive before they can be considered a realistic proposition. This viewpoint may have been true for the last two oil crises - in the 1970s, when modern wind power had not been invented, and in the 1980s, when wind was in its R&D phase. But with wind energy now an advanced technology it is an outdated fallacy, overtaken by today's energy realities.

And fossil fuels have an economic dark side. The last three global recessions were caused by oil price rises. The International Monetary Fund says that "oil prices will continue to present a serious risk to the global economy", while according to the International Energy Agency, world economic growth in 2005 might have been reduced by 0.8 percent as a result of record prices. Even before this past summer's price rises, a Financial Times oil market survey suggested that "governments would be wise to bring in policies that speed the end of the age of oil."

Oil and Renewables

Although oil consumption is typically perceived in terms of vehicles, with Americans having seen a gallon of gasoline rise USD $1.20 in the past year to reach more than USD $3.00, the link between oil and renewables is becoming stronger. The European Commission reacted to the surge in oil prices by launching a five-point plan which states that "the second main response to oil prices in the medium and long term is to switch to using alternative energy sources and to increase reliance on other forms of energy. Specific attention needs to be given in this respect to renewable and clean forms of energy".

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs commented that "Europe leads the world in providing an intelligent, coherent and environmentally sound response to this challenge... we need to redouble our efforts."

Rising Power Prices

Gas is what binds a wind farm to a barrel of oil. Any increase in oil price has a significant effect on energy prices and in particular on those of gas and electricity. Gas prices largely follow those of oil. As some 30 percent of EU electricity generated by fossil fuels comes from natural gas, this has a direct effect on electricity prices. Power prices have already risen in many European countries.

Before the oil price rises, the European Commission's Green Paper on Security of Energy Supply concluded that in the next 20-30 years Europe will be importing 70% of its energy, up from 50% today. The baseline EU energy scenario projects that by 2030, oil imports will rise from 76% to 88% and gas imports from 50% to 81%. At the same time, new power generation capacity will need to increase by about 400 GW. 80% of the incremental energy consumption is expected to come from gas.

Free Fuel Forever

Compared with these constraints, wind power has zero fuel price risk, zero fuel costs and extremely low operation and maintenance costs. In addition, wind provides total protection from carbon costs, and zero geo-political risk associated with supply and infrastructure constraints or political dependence on other countries. Wind power has no resource constraints; the fuel is free and endless. Unlike conventional fuels, wind is a massive indigenous power source permanently available. Wind power stations can be constructed and deliver power far quicker than conventional sources. As electricity prices rise and imports increase, wind power is the obvious choice in Europe both for economics and security of supply. With the world talking about how expensive fuel is, the merits of a technology providing a free fuel supply are indisputable. In the context of rising oil prices, a reappraisal of the economic value of wind energy is overdue.

Forward price assumptions of USD $20 to USD $28 a barrel, as used in the EU's current energy scenario up to 2030, now appear patently unrealistic. As oil prices continue to spiral upwards, the era of cheap fossil fuels is coming to an end. The era of free fuel, which is what wind energy delivers, is coming into its own.

About the author...

The Chief Executive Officer of the European Wind Energy Association, Corin Millais, has announced that he is leaving his position at the end of February 2006 to become Executive Director of the newly-established Climate Institute in Sydney, Australia. The Institute has been set up with AUD$10 million of funding from a philanthropic group to develop and implement a five - year campaign to persuade Australians of the dangers of climate change and the need for governments to take urgent action.

The information and views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of or the companies that advertise on its Web site and other publications.


Total Comments (29) reader comments on this story
post a new comment

-- Charles Butterfield, January 23, 2006
Franklin Roosevelt created the Tennesseee Valley Authority during his tenure as President of the United States. The Tennessee Valley Authority contributed a great deal to the development of the modern electrical grid in the United States.

We need a similar sort of leadership from Washington to establish wind power as a dominant form of power to replace carbon based fossil fuels.

For a fraction of the cost of the war in Iraq we could establish windpower as a replacement for carbon based fossil fuels and reduce the manipulation that we have been subjected to by the monopolistic oil companies and the middle eastern oil producing nations.

Thank you,
Charles Butterfield

-- Wayne Bostick, January 23, 2006
Wind power is fine and has a price but I believe you are being a little misleading on the total price of production. Granted wind is free but capital and operational costs are very high per KWH. I realize that price is coming down but you still have to deal with scale and how much power can be wrung out of reasonable size turbines. Multiple units are very costly.

-- Wayne Bostick, January 23, 2006
Before I get in trouble again Charles, I do agree with you that we need leadership similar to the Kennedy moon landing project desperately. I'm at a loss as to what is motivating the lack of leadership on alternate and revewable energy from "Washington" !

-- Charles Butterfield, January 23, 2006
Thank you, Wayne:

The capital costs and operating costs of windpower have come down substantially so that the capital costs and operating costs per kilowatt hour are very competitive with the cost of electricity produced by natural gas, which is a large source of our electricity production today.

As the price of natural gas continues to increase and the cost of windpower contniues to decrease, soon it will be much less expensive to produce electricity using windpower rather than natural gas.

Also, when you consider the cost of the war in Iraq, wind power looks ridiculously cheap by comparison. If we installed enough wind turbines to make our country energy independent, I doubt that we would even be at war in Iraq, or any other oil producing country for that matter.


-- Charles Butterfield, January 23, 2006
I recommend:

Everyone who reads this column, get to know your Congressperson very well. Work on their campaigns. If your Congressperson will not support leadership from Washington on windpower and other forms of renewable energy, change your Congressperson.

Let your Congressperson know that we expect the same sort of leadership from Congress that Franklin Roosevelt showed in the development of the Tennessee Valley Authority during the great depression in the 1930's.

Let windpower and renewable energy be the modern version of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Thank you,
Charles Butterfield

-- Lee Fellows, January 25, 2006
While we're changing forms of energy, why not change the delivery method? Why not advocate true energy independence by making architecture and pavements generate on-site power? No rights-of-way, no supply crises, no terror-sensitive infrastructure, no taxes or surcharges, a new service industry with millions of jobs.........

-- Roger Plafkin, January 25, 2006
I am very encouraged by the analogy of the development of windpower and renewable energy to the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority. The creation of Hoover Dam and the CCC put the country on a possitive path for the welfare of the entire country.

-- David Culver, January 25, 2006
I agree with Lee Fellows..massive decentralization of power systems where bigger US companies provide the tools for small business and do it yourselfers to implement self-reliant energy choices

-- Tricia Best, January 25, 2006
Sorry, but the wind is not "endless" and more importantly it is not predictable. Wind generators will not generate electricity if the wind is below a certain speed and cannot cope with very high wind speeds.

Conversely, we can predict quite accurately when the sun will shine: solar thermal will meet a significant proportion of the world's need for space and water heating & cooling and, with other technologies, can be harnessed to generate and store electricity.

But then you wouldn't expect the Chief Executive Officer of the European Wind Energy Association to mention the sun.

-- Phillip Mather, Jr., January 25, 2006
How many USD's do we send to Middle Eastern Oil Suppliers :

60 X 60 24 X 365.25 i.e. on Average what is it costing us per second....TO NOT GO 1000 % ALTERNATIVE FUEL WITH GREATER STRENGTH THAN THE MANHATTAN PROJECT....TODAY !!!! Something IS IN THE WIND....BUT WASHINGTON DOES NOT GET IT !!!! EITHER WAY...IS THERE A " PUN " IN THE WIND....Respectfully submitted !!

-- Richard Plevin, January 25, 2006

"Gas is what binds a wind farm to a barrel of oil. Any increase in oil price has a significant effect on energy prices and in particular on those of gas and electricity."

- Corin Millais, Outgoing EWEA Chief Executive The price of oil has more than tripled since 2001. Less than a year ago crude oil prices were in the range of US$25 to US$35 a barrel, but this past summer they reached an all-time high of almost US$70.

No comments:

Yuya Joe Blog

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper

The Daily Beast -Politics Blog - 21st Century Architecture

Original Joe College Blog

WikiLeaks Foreign Policy Analysis Real Estate Blog - Ecology Energy Efficiency

Best Green Stocks Investing Blog

JOIN Betfair through link below, you "Choose Your Bonus!"

PV Intell Photovoltaic Solar Stocks Investing

SEARCH Leading Alternative Energy and Ethical Investing websites

Custom Search

Daily Kos

Rare Earth Stocks Research

Patrick MacManus's Blog Peace and Collaborative Development - Nature and Ecology Blog

Research Green Energy stocks, Clean Energy investing information

Find wind power investing info online, clean energy mutual funds, geothermal stocks, solar energy investments.

Custom Search

Green Energy Investing Network:

Green Stocks Investing Clean Power Blog Renewable Power Investing Website

Wind Wind Energy Stocks Company Links

Geothermal Power Investing Public Companies

PV Leading Photovoltaic Solar Energy Stocks