The amount of growth in the wind industry over recent years is evidence that consumers demand renewables as a larger source of our energy mix. The growth is not only within government policies and company growth, but also investment banks and venture capital firms. Global investments in renewables have doubled from 2001 to 2005. New government policies have risen in number. Large corporations such as Vestas, GE, and Siemens as well as investment banks such as Goldman Sachs are seeing huge growth. As a result the production of wind turbines increased by 44 percent in 2005.
(Renewable energy sources, 2010) Wind Companies (employees and shareholders) In terms of business, the large wind corporations are for the growth of the overall industry. But company views on the ethical issue of providing enough energy for growth and consumption while garnering the least environmental impact seem to be most evident in the expansion, growth, and development of more efficient technologies within the products offered industry wide. Whether or not wind power can be as efficient as other energy sources is no longer an issue to most wind power companies.
In "a study done in 1991 by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that land-based wind resources in just three states could theoretically meet all U. S. electric needs. " It is a matter of making wind more efficient with new technologies to compete with other energy sources. (Renewable energy sources, 2010) Investment in new technologies has made wind power the world's fastest growing energy source. Its growth averages 29% each year compared to 2. 5% growth in coal, 1. 8% growth in nuclear, and 2. 5% growth in natural gas.
Around the globe countries are generating more electricity with wind power every year. In Denmark they generate 3,100 megawatts of wind capacity, which meets 20% of the countries electrical needs. In Germany, the country with the most wind turbines, they now get 6% of its electricity needs from wind power. Investment in improving technologies has also dropped the price significantly since the 1980's. The overall cost of wind power decreased by nearly 90% since then, to only . 04 cents per kilowatt-hour in prime wind sites. (Florence, 2008) My position
In my opinion the supplementation of wind energy as a more dominate part of energy provisions to the worlds population is of great benefit for all that are involved. When considering wind as a more dominant part of the energy grid we must consider two things. The first concern is what are the implications on the environment and humanity of the different energy sources we use to power our grids? The second is who is "paying for" the cost of our energy consumption now. That is, who will reap the affects of how we consume natural resources for energy consumption in the present?
We must compare wind to other sources of energy and what implications each have on the environment and human health. Consider first fossil fuels. Fossil fuels have major environmental implications, as they are the number one source of CO2 emissions that contaminate and degrade our atmosphere. Fossil fuels mostly have a negative affect on the natural environment. Now consider nuclear power. Nuclear energy has small impacts on the environment but have huge human health implications. In terms of incidents like Chernobyl and Tokyo Electric Power, the risk of human health is high.
One major risk is that of cancers caused by the radioactivity due to a nuclear meltdown. Now consider a renewable source of energy such as wind power. Outside of the initial use of fossil fuels used by equipment to construct wind turbines, they have absolutely zero impact on the environment and extremely minimal risk to human health. Wind turbines consume no fuel or water for continuing operation and have zero emissions directly related to electricity production. Wind turbines produce no carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, mercury, particulates, or any other type of air pollution like fossil fuels do.
(Mielke, 2010) The energy used to construct and transport the materials used to build wind turbines is "paid back" within 9 months of operation. (Wind power plant, n. d. ) Affects on the natural environment are close to none compared to sources of energy from fossil fuels. As for human health, the only risk is either during the construction of a wind turbine or the maintenance. Neither of these two has anything to do with the operation of a wind turbine and is mostly safety accidents that can be avoided with increase attention in working conditions. The second concern deals with who is "paying" for our energy consumption now.
Our choices in how much energy we consume, as well as what types of energies we chose to consume, can be to the detriment of future generations of life on this planet. Essentially, the depletion of the planets natural resources and the degradation to the atmosphere are "costs" that our future generations will have to pay for our energy consumption right now. (Harper, 2002) A Champion in the Industry Ditlev Engel is the President and CEO of Vestas Wind Systems. He is a champion within the wind industry as he leads the number one wind power company in the world.
Ditlev has held many high level executive positions such as President and Vice President of Hempel Hong Kong Ltd. , President of Hempel Norge AS, and Group president and CEO of Hempel A/S Denmark. Outside of his executive positions at large companies, Ditlev has held positions on many boards that involve environmental issues. Some of these organizations are the General Council of the Confederation of Danish Industries, the Industrial Policy Committee of the Conferderation of Danish Industries, and the Industry Advisory Group of the International Energy Agency.
(Executive management, n. d. ) He has been implementing change since he took over his position at Vestas in several ways. Addressing the issue of making wind systems more efficient in cost and production has been an ongoing struggle throughout the history of wind power. Within the last decade, under Engel's lead, Vestas has become the leader in wind turbine technologies. Vestas constantly is correcting and innovating ways to harness wind as an energy source. Engel's company now holds the highest number of wind turbine patents in the industry of 787.
Engel has established transparency programs throughout the company that allows employees and other stakeholders to voice their concerns and ideas about their technologies. Ditlev has been a major success in propelling the wind industry the constant research and development that has made their turbines more efficient in terms of cost and production also has lead to the ability to manage the entire process of constructing a wind farm. Under Engel's leadership, Vestas has become the leader in testing capabilities, blade technology, smart controls, and research and development.
By just a few of these measurements listed above, I can be sure that Engel's efforts have been a success in solving the inefficiencies in wind power production. (No. 1 in modern, n. d. ) Action Plan My desired vision would be an overall acceptance and implementation of wind power as the main source of powering our planets energy grids by 2025. Ideally I would have renewables completely replace all sources of fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, and natural gas) with wind power sourcing somewhere between 40-60% of energy grids.
This would completely eliminate CO2 emissions into our atmosphere as well as discontinue depletion of our natural resources in terms of electricity production. If we do not make extreme strides in eliminating CO2 emissions and conserving our natural resources, the future generations of the life on this planet will inevitably pay for our inaction. Accomplishing this goal would need several global efforts, occurring simultaneously. First we would need a governing document that outlines, in detail, the commitment from all country leaders to the elimination of fossil fuel use to power energy grids.
This document would also contain accountability clauses outlining the guidelines for the implementation process and audit agreements for continued operations. Also included would be corrective actions for non-compliance. Every country would need to show adherence with this charter by 2015 to allow ten years for construction of wind farms and conversions of energy grids. By 2015 we would also need to re-organize government funding for renewable energy projects. Government contracts would be created globally and bid out to wind power companies for construction, maintenance, monitoring, and upgrading of wind farms in different countries.
A new global energy commission would be put into place with representative's form each country. This commission would be used to regulate and monitor compliance of all global energy efforts. Measurements in 2025 would be clear. Compliance of all countries around the world could easily be gauged by reviewing the governing document. The commission that will be created will measure success with initial audits that will begin in 2025 and completed every 2 years after to confirm that 40-60% of a countries energy is being produced by wind power.