Governments need to act in Rio for a sustainable energy future

Global Wind Day builds pressure on world leaders ahead of the Rio +20 Summit to commit to doubling the share of renewable energy by 2030.

As countries around the world celebrate Global Wind Day tomorrow (15 June), the Irish Wind Energy Association highlights the positive effects of wind energy in Ireland, and the need to commit to increasing the use of renewable energy for a sustainable future.

When world leaders gather in Rio next week, they will have an opportunity to set a new course towards a more sustainable energy future. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative calls for universal energy access, a doubling of energy efficiency and a doubling of renewable energy by 2030. Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan will lead the Irish delegation at the summit.

Today, commercial wind power is deployed in more than 75 countries around the world, with 21 countries, including Ireland, having more than 1000 MW installed. The current 250 GW+ of installed capacity is more than 30 times the amount deployed just 15 years ago, when the Kyoto protocol was signed in 1997. Industry projections show that wind power could, with the right policy support, double in capacity by 2015, and again by the end of this decade, delivering 9 – 12 % of global electricity supply.

There has been a significant increase in the amount of electricity generated from renewable energy sources over the past two decades in Ireland too. In 1990, this figure stood at just 5.3%. Due to heavy investment in and development of the sector over the last two decades, this figure grew to 14.8% in 2010. Today, wind is the main source of renewable energy production, increasing from less than 1% of total production in 1995 to over 40% in 2010(wind energy power stood at just 53MW in Ireland in 1997; by 2011 this had soared to 1,631MW).

However, greater investment in the sector is needed to provide the necessary certainty that will guarantee that the sector reaches its potential and Ireland’s wind regime is capitalised upon.

Speaking ahead of Global Wind Day and the Rio +20 Summit, Kenneth Matthews, CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association said, “Global Wind Day shines a spotlight on the true potential of wind energy. Not only does the increased use of wind energy lower carbon dioxide emissions, it also creates opportunities for job creation, investment and economic recovery, which are priorities for the Irish government at the moment. By agreeing and setting ambitious renewable energy targets for 2030, participating governments at Rio +20 can publicly commit to a sustainable energy future.

“Increased electricity generated by wind power will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 1.5 billion tons per annum worldwide, save billions of litres of precious fresh water, and contribute to energy security and price stability in countries around the world. However, for wind power and other renewable energy sources to reach their full potential, governments need to act and commit to increasing their use of renewable energy, both nationally and internationally.

“IWEA is holding a health and safety event on 14 June in Dublin, which will see the Irish Health & Safety Strategy Group continue to work towards creating and communicating best practices in health and safety for the wind industry, ensuring this sector has the strongest and most sustainable footing to deliver its potential.”

Global Wind Day in Ireland
In Ireland last year Global Wind Day was a great success, with over 1,000 people visiting wind farms across the country. This year sees even more activities being held to celebrate Global Wind Day including:

1. A number of wind farms across Ireland are hosting an array of events to celebrate wind energy. Locations include Cavan, Limerick, Derry, Antrim, Tipperary, Tyrone. The activity dates vary and some are hosting family days whilst others are inviting schools for fun, games and facts on wind.

2. A number of KidWind workshops are being held in Dublin, Waterford and Tipperary. KidWind workshops introduce teachers to the science behind wind energy while giving them the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to bring wind energy into their classrooms using standard based activities in an engaging, hands-on manner. Workshops are aimed at primary and secondary school teachers interested in renewable energy, physics, general science, technical education, engineering, environmental science, and mathematics.

3. To mark Global Wind Day, IWEA’s Health & Safety Event will take place on Thursday 14 June 2012 in Dublin.

About IWEA
Established in 1993, the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) is the national body representing the wind energy sector in Ireland. IWEA is committed to promoting the use of wind energy in Ireland and beyond as an economically viable and environmentally sound alternative to thermal or nuclear generation and promotes awareness and understanding of wind power as the primary renewable energy resource. IWEA is also dedicated to education and awareness building, and to building the skills base of the renewable energy sector in Ireland. IWEA also supports the development of other renewable technology, particularly marine energy.

IWEA has more than 250 members who incorporate all leading industry voices in Ireland. IWEA acts as a central point for information for its membership as well as a lobbying group to promote wind energy to government. IWEA’s Council consists of 26 members and is made up of elected and corporate members. IWEA is entirely self-funded and relies on the support of its members.

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