Romanian monks turn to wind energy

You could call Father Iustin a pioneer. He installed a wind turbine long before the hundreds that you can now see from this hill appeared. He was the first monk in the Constanța region to power his monastery with renewable technology and now he gladly advises other monasteries to do the same.

“I like being a monk,” says Father Iustin Petre, one of the founders of the Casian Monastery in Romania. “It is free, no stress.”

It is quiet up here. Birds float on the wind over a landscape that would be at home in the Mediterranean. A small wind toy spins on a post and even the cats and dogs that inhabit every Romanian scene are friendlier.

Letting one’s eyes drift across the landscape, it is impossible to miss the forest of wind turbines that surround Casian. The turbines of the largest wind farm in Europe, Fantanele–Cogealac, are everywhere. The hundreds of wind turbines might put some people off, especially at night when the aviation warning lights flicker, synchronised, like a ghost city. But Father Iustin likes them.

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Hitting the jackpot with wind energy in Poland

“We feel like we’ve won the lottery.”

Mirosława and Mieczysław Horodiuk sit on a couch in their living room, their aged cat stares through the window. Here in Kończewo in north western Poland a late spring snow has fallen, delaying the spring planting for this farming family. They rest easy knowing that summer will come and they now have a guaranteed income.

10 years ago a wind energy developer approached the Horodiuk family to rent part of their farmland for a wind turbine. They were sceptical about this opportunity. It would have been difficult for them to agree if they were on their own, but they had support.

The citizens of Kobylnica had been prepared for such an event. Leszek Kuliński, mayor of Kobylnica, became interested in wind turbines while on holiday in Denmark. (His wife complained that 80% of the photographs he took were of wind turbines.) Leszek wanted to bring this industry to Kobylnica. He travelled to Germany to research and to investigate if it was safe for the community. He returned determined to make his commune attractive to wind energy developers.

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I Love Windpower brings wind energy and identity to Mali

Piet Willem Chevalier, Den Haag, the Netherlands“If I had to sum it up in one word, I would say identity,” says Piet Willem Chevalier, owner and operator of I Love Windpower. “On my first trip to Mali, I saw this group of people that were really shy, that didn’t want to ask questions, they had no confidence. After we made that first turbine, we threw a party and it was quite amazing to see how this sense of identity grew.”

One day while driving in the Netherlands Piet became transfixed by a set of wind turbines and literally drove off the road,. He couldn’t have known at that time that this incident would change his life. In a few years he would be bringing wind power to Mali where the poorest communities often pay the highest rates for energy.

One thing led to another and Piet started working as an engineer for Siemens wind. After about a year Piet discovered the work of Welsh engineer, Hugh Piggott. Mr. Piggott is the inventor of an open source, affordable, small-scale wind turbine design. Piet invited Hugh to come and teach a workshop in the Netherlands. It took some convincing, but Mr. Piggott finally agreed.

That workshop taught Piet how to build these turbines, and in doing so it changed Piet’s life. Piet knew that he needed to take this new skill and technology to a place where it would be most beneficial and he could pass it on. One of his best friends was from Mali and he figured that Mali was as good as anywhere else to get started. He founded I Love Windpower, a Netherlands based NGO, then designed a course that was easy to teach, transcended language barriers and used readily available materials. He flew to Mali and within two weeks, he and a team of 10 local people, five who couldn’t read or write and five who couldn’t speak any French, built a better turbine than Piet himself had done. read more »

And the winner is….

The European Wind Energy Agency and the Global Wind Energy Council are pleased to present the winners of this year’s Global Wind Day photo competition.

The best images have been selected in five regional categories (Europe, Americas, Asia, Africa and Australasia) as well as an overall global winner.

“The winning picture is clearly taken at a crucial moment in the installation of a new wind turbine” says Julian Scola, Communication Director of the European Wind Energy Association.

Global winner Joan Sullivan is overwhelmed with the selection of her photo which she says is one of her all time favorites and tell us: “In 2005, during a family vacation in Ireland, I photographed my first wind turbine, and something just went off in my head, like a lightbulb, that this is my calling…I have dedicated my second 50 years to documenting the rapid expansion of wind and other forms of renewable energy in the context of climate change. I hope that my photographs will contribute positively to the global dialogue about the inevitable transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”

The fascination with the technology and wind energy, is evident in all of the 1,000 submissions EWEA and the GWEC got for the competition ‘Discover the stories behind wind energy’. EWEA and GWEC have received entries from 67 countries all around the world, from Greenland to India, Barbados to Thailand, and Costa Rica to Ukraine.

The winners were chosen by a jury consisting of Mark Edwards (Hard Rain Project), Erik Luntang (Inspirit), Robert van Waarden (freelance photographer) and Simon Bogle (Recharge) and will receive Amazon vouchers as well as have their photographs featured in the magazine Recharge and EWEA’s magazine, Wind Directions.

‘With this year’s photo competition, we have been particularly impressed with the number of entries and with the wide geographical spread of submissions. It matches the spread of wind energy as a symbol of a clean and sustainable future  and shows that the technology has an  aesthetic value in itself’ said Julian Scola, Communication Director at the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

Orthodox community embraces renewable energy in the Czech Republic

High on a wind turbine, hidden amongst the cherry orchards and the wheat fields of Eastern Czech Republic, is a painting of a raven with a piece of bread in its mouth. The prophet St. Elias the Tishbite was kept alive by ravens feeding him bread when he was hidden in the desert. This is the St. Elias wind turbine and it belongs to the Pravoslavná Akademie Vilémov, a non-profit Orthodox NGO specialised in renewable energy.

“Everything was given to us by God to survive,’ says Roman Juriga, director of the Akademie, “that includes the energy and the capacity to create energy, that is why we have named our turbine St. Elias.” read more »