Sunday, January 22, 2012

Making Way For Bigger Turbines

New Hampshire, USA -- They stand as looming testaments to innovation, growing ever more prominent and powerful. Yet for much of 2011, wind installations remained somewhat obscured, eclipsed by the media storm surrounding the solar industry.

The truth of the matter is, however, that the wind industry bounced back from a disappointing 2010 with a surge in both installations and sales. The wind industry quietly and methodically continues to forge ahead, and today it dominates the renewable energy landscape in new installations.

Through October (the most recent numbers available by press time), the wind industry placidly posted three strong quarters behind a steady drop in prices and the realization that Congress may not extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) past its December 2012 expiration date. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), through the first three quarters of 2011, the wind industry installed 29 wind farms larger in total capacity than the biggest solar project installed during that same period.

With the wind industry eager to continue its momentum with or without the PTC, two things are clear: turbines must get bigger and engineers must work to drive down costs. It’s a proven formula that’s paying dividends beyond the traditional stronghold of the Midwest, as the technology becomes a bigger part of the landscape in places like New York, Massachusetts and Maine.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

1.1 Million Jobs Achieved In Europe

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You can just hear the naysayers claiming “It could never be done. There never could be one million green jobs.” Like many new things that do materialize eventually, it has come true.

According to information released by EuroObserv’ER, approximately 1.1 million people living in Europe have jobs in renewable energy. Yes, renewable energy, not coal, not oil, not fracking for natural gas.

Curiously, although this achievement is a tremendous accomplishment both in terms of clean energy production and in helping people learn new skills in an emerging industry while paying them, it doesn’t seem to have garnered much press, at least in the United States.

The report actually only used jobs data from 2010, so it is possible if they do another analysis to include the more recent numbers there could be even more jobs documented. The top renewable energy employers in Europe were biomass (273,000), solar photovoltaics (268,110), and wind (253,145). Next were biogas (52,810) and solar thermal (49,845) with ground source heat pumps, waste-to-energy, small hydro, and geothermal filling in the remainder.

One trend that points to the possibility there were even more renewable energy jobs added in 2011 is the fact nearly 70 percent of Europe’s new electricity capacity came from solar and wind power. An expanding clean energy industry obviously can translate into more jobs.

Another significant fact is the growth of over one million jobs in renewable energy took place during a very challenging economic period. If there had not been a global recession, the expansion might have been greater. So for the future, when there is economic growth and stabilization, the emerging renewable energy industry in Europe may experience another uptick in installations and in new jobs.

Perhaps one reason we in the U.S. don’t hear so much about clean energy successes in Europe, is that our own green jobs growth, which was claimed could have been up to five million during the 2008 campaign, has been far less with only about 225,000 resulting from government programs.

Contact me Tradd Duggan whether to Network, or for possible Business opportunities with your company.