Wind Power!

Curt at Kinderdijk

 

Yesterday I rode out to Kinderdijk near Rotterdam, a spot where about 20 old windmills still stand. They were built in 1738-1740, and were built so families could live in them. They were used to move water. As you can see, the wind power idea hasn’t changed a whole lot in nearly 3oo years.

Windmills at Kinderdijk

And while on the topic of wind energy, I noted this in Sunday’s column from Tom Friedman (who I don’t always agree with, but I think he’s right on about energy these days), where he writes on Denmark’s success with wind energy.

“Today, one-third of all terrestrial wind turbines in the world come from Denmark.” [Connie Hedegaard, Denmark’s minister of climate and energy, quoted] In the last 10 years, Denmark’s exports of energy efficiency products have tripled. Energy technology exports rose 8 percent in 2007 to more than $10.5 billion in 2006, compared with a 2 percent rise in 2007 for Danish exports as a whole.

“It is one of our fastest-growing export areas,” said Hedegaard. It is one reason that unemployment in Denmark today is 1.6 percent. In 1973, said Hedegaard, “we got 99 percent of our energy from the Middle East. Today it is zero.”

Because it was smart taxes and incentives that spurred Danish energy companies to innovate, Ditlev Engel, the president of Vestas — Denmark’s and the world’s biggest wind turbine company — told me that he simply can’t understand how the U.S. Congress could have just failed to extend the production tax credits for wind development in America.

Why should you care?

“We’ve had 35 new competitors coming out of China in the last 18 months,” said Engel, “and not one out of the U.S.”

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Comments

  • johnk5555  On August 11, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Looks pretty neat. Do they actually still work? How long of a bike ride is it from Utrecht? You look like you are having fun over there! We are jealous!

  • Curt  On August 11, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    We actually took the train to within about 25km of the windmills – then rode through the farmlands to get there.

    It’s been a lot of fun to really see the back country of the Netherlands!

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