News and articles

Elisa González Verdejo

Prices for wind turbines production hit a low record: and they're still one of the cleanest source of energy

Last June was welcomed by the UK's interest in leading the run towards the Net-Zero emissions target by 2050, becoming the first country in the European Union to sign an amendment to their country’s Climate Change Act, in order to reach the ambitious target. As this commitment sets in, the world's largest marine wind turbine has been put to test in Blyth, a port in the northernmost part of England. According to the official website of GE Renewable Energy -the manufacturer-, the turbine epically called Haliade-X will be capable of generating enough clean power for up to 16 000 European households! If everything goes as expected, the Haliade-X 12 MW would become the first biggest offshore wind turbine in the world, generating approximately 67 GWh annually, with a size of seven American football fields. In a wind farm configuration, this type of wind turbines would allow to cover up to 1 million European households.



UK’s initiative comes after the prospect for a decade of unprecedented growth in eolic energy, according to the Wind Energy Technologies Office of the United States. The top trends in offshore wind energy technologies show a reduction in their auction prices, not only in the USA but also on Denmark and the UK, closely followed by Germany and the Netherlands. Whilst more countries are being added to the prospect, wind blades have also been manufactured in much bigger sizes, allowing one turbine to capture an average 5.5 MW in 2017, according to the 2018 annual report from the aforementioned US Office. As the customized floating structures for the turbines have become better developed, and the distance from the shore also met room to an increase, the technology needed for the installation offshore has reached deeper ocean levels, with floating structures added to the new designs, and from this year on, much powerful turbines of 12 MW are just starting their way to be tested.



A note from the Berkely Lab also pointed at the lower cost of electricity coming from the wind: this kind of energy just hit a record low on 2019 with a tendency below solar energy. Its prices went from 7 cents per kWh in 2009, to almost 2 cents this year. The levelized price -that is a metric that allows different technologies to be compared- put wind energy not only below solar energies, but below *gas fuel*.



As wind energy has become an important solution to the generation of renewable energy, Scandinavia also took a leap with the largest offshore wind farm of their region officially opened a few days ago, on August, 23th. The farm consists of 49 turbines, standing 187 meters tall: that's about twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, or the Big Ben! The farm also will be capable of generating 407 megawatts (MW), allowing it to cover the electricity consumption of approximately 425,000 Danish homes.



The case for Latin America is irregular though: whilst Chile, Brazil and Argentina recently showed plans to invest in eolic farms, the eolic future in Mexico is not yet very clear, and conflicting in some reports which show that while there is interest to keep the growing rate of the established sector, there has also been an awaiting period from the goverment to continue the auctions for private investment. At present, the expectation is to grow from 800 to 1200 MW by the end of 2019, and on the bright news an eolic farm was just opened last June, aiming to provide electricity for up to 120,000 households. Meanwhile the country has opted for a cogenerating model, including natural gas plus a not yet very well defined plan to develop eolic parks in alliance with Iberdrola the spanish firm. Brazil on the other hand, has also shown interest from investors such as Iberdrola as well as Siemens Gamesa and Voltalia, the last one with a focus on solar panels. In the case of Chile, the local authority of Bío Bío, showed a clear aim in turning the region as the leader of the country by increasing their generating capacity up to 500 MW from this date to 2021.



While the above might represent an occidental background, let us turn the observatory towards Asia: China, on the other hand, revealed plans to meet up to 50% of their energy requirements via renewable energies in their 13th Energy Technology Innovation Five-Year Plan, by 2030. The country is also leading the world in wind energy, showing 197 GW of total facilities installed along the country, compared to the US, with around 89 GW, according to the World Wide Wind Energy Association. Regarding their energetic potential as a country, using this type of technology, it's been said that either their land and ocean are very well suited for wind generators: estimations point that about 2 380 GW could be harvested by 2050. Overall this could show that China is now a leading world example for other nations seeking to develop their energetic industry.



Meanwhile India, a country known for its refusal to change completely towards renewable energies, and which favours coal fueled electricity, has seen a small interest in wind energy. The country has actually shown to be capable of reaching 4th place in the World Wind Association report for 2018, on Overall Wind Capacity installed but it seems to be facing financial difficulties supporting projects, as recent auctions met only 2 bids in auctions. Despite expectations, pollution on the major Indian cities continue, and by the time this post was written, it seems improbable that India will set a wind based energetic strategy without challenge, favouring instead coal, as well as solar panel installations.



Overall, a bright panorama for the more industrialized countries is settled: levelized prices for wind turbines have been lowered during the last few years, yet it still seems difficult to replicate in less advantaged countries, such as those criticized sometimes for letting their development be based on fossil fuels, despite some of their efforts. Nevertheless, China, has risen as the leader in renewable wind energy worldwide, even when its industry shows technical differences compared to, for example, that of the US. While this is a better prospect than ten years ago, countries will need to accelerate the pace to mitigate climate crisis, but the fact is that an oriented business vision prevails. As youth, we face apparent challenges, would it be possible to find multilateral supportive and fair dynamics between 'techno-privileged' and less technologically advantaged countries?

Felipe Pérez Muzard

IPCC Report 2019 Climate Change and Land

IPCC has approved and published the report "Climate Change and Land: a special report by the IPCC on climate change". This shows that a better way to manage land resources can contribute to curbing climate change, but it's not the only solution that needs to be implemented.



"The climate crisis is reducing earth's ability to support humanity" states the IPCC.

Felipe Pérez Muzard

G-20 and Carbon Neutrality 2050

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera took the lead during the G20 summit intervening for climate change. He pointed out: "We have two options: one, is simply to wait and continue to doubt that the current road leads to a disaster, as the United Nations experts have said over and over again in their six reports that they have already published; the second way is to take action now.” He continued "in Chile we decided to take action. Chile has committed to being a carbon neutral country before 2050, and for that we are applying public policies so that it is not only rhetoric, but also reality". "We have just made an agreement with several countries - France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom- to commit ourselves into action for carbon neutrality before the year 2050.”



The effort of the President of Chile, host country of COP25, reinforces the need and urgency of unity that needs to exist during COP25 to reach an agreement on the controversial Article 6.

Felipe Pérez Muzard

COP 25 launched

"The time has come for action", said Chilean President Sebastián Piñera while officially launching COP 25, which will take place between December 2 and 13 in Santiago, Chile.



At the ceremony held in the Chilean government palace, the president said "It will be a great opportunity for the country and the whole world to become truly aware that time is running out and that every day, the goals become more urgent and require more ambition and more enforceability. For that reason, the time has come for action.”



"For COP 25, Chile is promoting progress in the protection of the oceans, Antarctica, electromobility, renewable energies, the circular economy and the protection of forests, ecosystems and biodiversity" indicates the official information from the Presidency. "On the occasion it was announced that the Bicentennial Park of Cerrillos will host the summit and Gonzalo Muñoz Abogabir, founder of the TriCiclos recycling company, was presented as Champion of COP 25, in charge of advising the Presidency of COP and work in a coordinated manner with the United Nations. In addition, the ambassadors of COP 25 were also presented: public figures in charge of raising awareness of the issues that the summit will address."



You can find out more about COP25 on their official website www.cop25.cl.

Felipe Pérez Muzard

Africa Climate Week

The week for the action on climate in Africa, a decisive continent for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, took place in Accra, Ghana between March 18 and 22.



Members of the political and private sector met demonstrating to the international community that the will and commitment by agents of change to reach and increase climate action are maintained and everything humanly possible will be done to achieve them.



The event focused on strengthening the commitment of all those involved in key sectors for Africa, including energy, agriculture and human congregations. In addition, the role of future coal markets to achieve reinforced climate action towards the objective of sustainable development was also discussed.

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