Capturing the power on Global Wind Day

Wind power is leading from the front as a main source of new energy generation around the world, with $112.5bn invested last year alone and – as of 15 June, Global Wind Day (GWD) 2017 – over 500GW of turbines turning. 

The sector, which now employs 1.2 million people, making it one of the fastest growing industrial segments in the world, has become "a major driver" in the global energy transition, states Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), which this year has co-organised the Global Wind Day photo competition, Capture the Power of Wind, with industry body WindEurope.

"We are on the road to a sustainable energy future. Wind and other renewables are already winning on the economics alone, but we need it to happen faster if we are to have a reasonable chance of meeting the Paris climate targets," he states.

From a Scottish cottage to 500GW worldwide, wind is on a historic updraft

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Sawyer emphasises that new generation capacity remains one of the key remaining barriers for the uptake of wind, particularly in OECD markets, as long-paid-off fossil fuel plants are being kept running due to the fact that "the cost of the air and water pollution and CO2 emissions are [still] free – a subsidy from the environment and future generations to fossil fuels.

"Shutting down these old plants, as well as encouraging the rapid transition to electric vehicles, would help drive the demand necessary to keep the renewable energy industry thriving in established markets, with massive environmental, health, and economic benefits," Sawyer says.

WindEurope chief executive Giles Dickson states: "Reaching 500GW globally is a landmark. Wind is now a core mainstream part of electricity systems in advanced economies. To deliver the economic benefits that will come from the further expansion and the next 500GW, we need to tackle the overcapacity of polluting and inefficient power plants.

"We also need to see an accelerated push for the electrification and decarbonisation of heating and transport. Wind has got to 10% of Europe’s electricity. We need to contribute also to cleaner heating and transport."

Global Wind Day is an annual event designed to give citizens around the world the opportunity to show their support for wind power as the leading technology driving the clean energy revolution, and for companies to showcase their technologies and contributions to local economic development and job creation at a grass-roots level.

The winning entries in the competition's three categories – Wind and Nature, Wind at Sea and Wind Works – appear in the carousel above, along with a selection of the shortlisted images.

The three winning entries:

Wind and Nature: Mario Zangas, Greece

A unique 73.2MW wind farm on a small and uninhabited Greek island called Agios Georgios. Twenty-five nautical miles of submarine cables were needed in order to connect the wind park to Athens’ electrical grid.

Wind at Sea: Dennis Schroeder, United States

October 1, 2016, and 15-foot waves during a squall are dwarfed by 600 ft (180-metre) GE Haliade turbines at the first commercial offshore wind farm in the US, off Block Island, Rhode Island in the Atlantic Ocean. 

Wind Works: Subodh Naatu, India

A mechanic inspecting the blades of the turbine before fitting on the rotor to ensure perfect working of the machine.

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