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Nimbyism Looked at from a Technological Point of View

An international movement against wind energy is maturing – across the globe today there exist over 1,000 anti-wind groups. The origin of the opposition is, in some instances, fossil fuel and nuclear backed interest groups and, at other times, local community members with genuine concern. Regardless of the source, this burgeoning trend must be dealt with effectively, transparently and compassionately. The alternative: once-trusted company names and brands become vilified, inspiring antagonism and encouraging locals to unify against wind energy projects.

{access view=!registered}Only logged in users can view the full text of the article.{/access}{access view=registered}In this issue, on page 6, we publish the first of a series of articles written by Tiff Thompson, who is principal at NIMBY Consulting in the USA. This article is the introduction to the series of topical columns which will dig into the causes of anti-wind sentiment and the maturing of opposition against wind energy development, including groups, popular arguments and their proposed countermeasures, as well as an introduction to the spectrum of solutions wind energy professionals can tap to quell what may otherwise become an unmanageable storm of hostility.
Tiff Thompson will cover one topic at a time, and will talk about technological aspects of the issues, as well as mentioning technological advances and improvements to counter the issues. Topics that will be covered include sound/noise, wildlife/birds/bats, lights/FAA lighting and other standards, flicker, aesthetics and visual intrusion, electromagnetic interference and ‘wind turbine syndrome’. Of course we are open to suggestions from our readership, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you feel a specific topic would be interesting to address in this new column.

Wind Energy Powers Ahead Despite Economic Turmoil
Although the economic situation around the globe is less bright at the moment, 2011 was a pretty good year for our industry. The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) annual market statistics recently published show that the wind industry installed just over 41,000MW of new wind power in 2011, bringing the total installed capacity globally to more than 238,000MW at the end of 2011. This represents an increase of 21%, with an increase in the size of the annual global market of just over 6%. China has consolidated its position as global market leader, with a cumulative capacity of more than 62,000MW, despite having faced a challenging year. For India, 2011 installations pushed its total capacity to just over 16,000MW by adding over 3,000MW of wind power installed in 2011. This is likely to go up to 5,000MW per year by 2015. In the EU, 9,616MW of wind energy capacity was installed in 2011, giving a total installed capacity of 93,957MW. After a difficult 2010, the US wind sector bounced back, with installations of more than 6,800MW. Wind energy in Canada enjoyed a record year in 2011, surpassing the 5,000MW milestone. Canada, and in particular Ontario, is emerging as a very competitive destination for wind energy investment globally. Latin America had a good year, growing by a total of more than 1,200MW, led by Brazil. Brazilian installations were up by half, adding 587MW to reach a total of just over 1,500MW. Brazil reached the 1GW milestone during 2011, and has a pipeline of more than 7,000MW to be completed before the end of 2016.

Let’s hope that Europe manages to solve the Euro crisis in the near future and that the PTC is extended soon in the USA. Despite many emerging markets, Europe and the USA remain important to further mature the industry and to bring down the costs of wind energy.

Enjoy reading,

Floris Siteur
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