Switching to 100% renewables by 2050 would save major economies $500 billion

A new study has finally put a dollar value on a renewable energy future. According to a new report commissioned by the Climate Action Network, if the US, the European Union and China started taking the steps towards using 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, they’d save a combined US$500 billion per year.fotoboltaika

On top of that, moving in that direction would save the lives of around 1.3 million people who are killed prematurely by air pollution, and also create 3 million new jobs by 2030. And if that’s not enough reason, the study also predicted that if all countries started moving towards the 100 percent renewable target, global warming would not cross the 2 degrees Celsius threshold that many scientists believes is the ‘point of no return’ for climate change.

Currently, the European Union aims to get at least 40 percent of its emissions below 1990 levels by 2030. The US is committed to getting its emission down to 28 percent below 2005 levels, and China has promised to obtain 30 percent of its power from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030. If the countries manage to stick to these goals, they’ll collectively prevent around 113,000 air-pollution deaths, save at least US$ 33 billion and create 1 million jobs – which is pretty impressive.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that we now have the technology needed to stop depending on fossil fuels, we just need to encourage politicians and businesses it’s the right thing to do. And hopefully reports like this one will help. After all, the future is already here.

New research blows away claims that ageing wind farms are a bad investment

Wind turbines can remain productive for up to 25 years, making wind farms a good long-term choice for energy investors, according to new research.

The UK has a target of generating 15 per cent of the nation’s energy from renewable resources such as wind farms by 2020. There are currently 4,246 individual wind turbines in the UK across 531 wind farms, generating 7.5 per cent of the nation’s electricity.3967_value3_9808

There has been some debate about whether wind turbines have a more limited shelf-life than other energy technologies. A previous study used a statistical model to estimate that electricity output from wind turbines declines by a third after only ten years of operation. Some opponents of wind power have argued that ageing turbine technology could need replacing en masse after as little as ten years, which would make it an unattractive option in economic terms.

In a new study, researchers from Imperial College Business School carried out a comprehensive nationwide analysis of the UK fleet of wind turbines, using local wind speed data from NASA. They showed that the turbines will last their full life of about 25 years before they need to be upgraded.

The team found that the UK’s earliest turbines, built in the 1990s, are still producing three-quarters of their original output after 19 years of operation, nearly twice the amount previously claimed, and will operate effectively up to 25 years. This is comparable to the performance of gas turbines used in power stations.

The study also found that more recent turbines are performing even better than the earliest models, suggesting they could have a longer lifespan. The team says this makes a strong business case for further investment in the wind farm industry.

Alstom Completes World’s Largest Offshore Wind Turbine Off the Belgian Coast

The world’s largest offshore wind turbine was recently installed in the waters near Ostend Harbour at the Belwind Wind Farm in Belgium. The 6 MW Haliade 150 wind turbine model, with 73 meter long blades and a 78 meter tower was built by the French company Alstom and is expected to harvest 15 percent more energy than existing offshore wind turbines.Alstom-Offshore-Wind-Turbine

The large wind turbine will power approximately 5,000 households and require less maintenance than other models used for offshore wind power harvesting. This is possible because the Heliade model has less mechanical parts and operates without a gearbox, while the permanent generator incorporated into the body of the turbine makes it more reliable and cost effective.

The first Heliade 150 turbine went through a series of tests at Le Carnet site in France and successfully obtained the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) power performance measurement in 2012. By installing it at the site in Belgium, Alstom will be able to confirm the turbine’s superior performance within the offshore environment for which it was specifically designed. The turbine was installed with the help of Belwind and will hopefully push the envelope when it comes to the development of innovative wind energy technologies.