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As they use clean renewable wind energy, wind turbines seem like the perfect example of eco-friendly energy. Major technological progress has made their size increase over the past few years; they are now over 100 metres in diameter and their power has increased proportionally. A large wind turbine now produces more than 1 MW. This is the amount consumed by a thousand European inhabitants (excluding heating). This reduces CO2 emissions by about 2000 tons a year. The most powerful wind turbines are installed in the sea, where there are more regular strong winds and where they do not bother those who feel they mar the landscape. These wind turbines can produce up to 5 MW of power.

Wind turbines already provide almost 20% of electricity in Denmark, 10% in Spain and Portugal and 7% in Germany and Ireland. However, on a world scale, wind energy is still not widespread and only accounts for 1.5% of electricity that is consumed.

By how much can it increase? Probably not more than it already has in Denmark because wind energy cannot substitute other sources of energy: it is additional energy that depends on meteorological conditions. Wind turbines do not operate continuously. They also do not necessarily function when consumption peaks. They need to work in addition to other easily-adaptable forms of energy.

This is something all renewable forms of energy have in common: none of them can replace oil by themselves. But together, if they are combined with energy saving measures, they can provide an “energy mix” that can help us develop an economy that pollutes less.

The wind sector also provides jobs: it now employs 150 000 people. By 2020, this figure could be more than 300 000. This is an example of how environmentalism creates “green jobs” that help the development of the economy and the technology, research and employment sectors.


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