Wind power is the world's leading renewable energy source. Investment and maintenance costs are low and despite the minimal infrastructure required, yields are high. Around the world, wind energy is booming.
Wind power plant technicians in China
China has identified wind power as a key growth component of the country's economy. The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) is currently working in partnership with Longyuan, one of the leading wind-farm operators in China, at the country's only training center for wind-farm servicing technicians. The center is based in Suzhou near Shanghai. So far, some 1,800 wind- energy technicians have been trained here – only a fraction of the number that will be required to service all the wind farms planned in China. GLOBAL IDEAS met a trainee technician in her home town near the the Mongolian border.
Rural wind power in India
GLOBAL IDEAS heads to the western Indian state of Maharashtra to visit a village near one of the country's first wind farms and talk to locals about their experience of wind power. Despite its proximity to the wind park, the village remains off-grid. Meanwhile in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, we find out about a European foundation that is buying wind farms in India. It sees yields that would be impossible in Europe and donates part of the profits to local charities.
Morocco's biggest wind farm
We meet a young Moroccan engineer who services the recently-opened Dhar Sadaane wind farm, located between Tangier and Tetoua, which takes advantage of the extremely good wind conditions available on the Strait of Gibraltar. Apart from Egypt, Morocco is the only country in Africa making significant investments in wind power. Plans for an electricity transport network between Africa and Europe are already underway.
Alternatives to nuclear power
One of the largest inland wind turbines in the world has just begun operating in a nature conservation park in the German state of Hesse. A wind generator located on the Donnersberg mountain in Rheinland-Pfalz has replaced five smaller wind power parks to provide roughly 5,000 households with electricity. Wind energy is booming in Germany and in the long run, some say it could be a viable alternative to nuclear energy.
To find out more about these projects as well as background information, videos and photos, check out GLOBAL IDEAS' dossier on wind energy.