Largest Wind Turbine EVER

Germany has broken a new record in the pursuit of green energy: the central European country is now home to the largest wind turbine in the world! The towering metal structure is 584 feet high, an astounding height that becomes 808.7 feet when one of the three blades is pointed straight up.

The turbine, which stands as part of four in the German town of Gaildorf, was built by Max Bögl Wind AG. The quartet should produce about 10,500 MWh per year (which is about the energy that 1,050 houses in the U.S. would use). This is all due to height: with every additional meter in turbine height, the energy output increased by roughly .75% (because if higher wind speeds and less air turbulence).

The project wasn’t cheap, however. It rang it at around $81 million, and it’s return is only about $7.6 million / year. While it will certainly make a profit one day, that definitely qualifies as a long term investment. However, the investment isn’t only in value, but in the planet and the people of Germany and the rest of the world.

Globally, wind farms have prevented over 600 million tons of pollutants from entering the atmosphere, and every year that number only gets higher as more and more are built. Larger and more efficient turbines may be the way to go – once we see how Gaildorf likes theirs!

European EV Competition Heats Up

One of the biggest inhibitors to the spread of electric vehicles is the lack of a reliable charging network across the world. Gas stations are entrenched in our culture, but alternate fuel stations are not, and until that changes, EVs will always be a novelty item. In the U.S. heavy hitter Tesla is rapidly changing the landscape with their superchargers, and in Europe, the advance is lead by a coalition of automakers and battery companies.

BMW, The Volkswagen Group, and Daimler, among others, plan to build a charging network along major routes and thoroughfares across the continent. They are starting right in the middle (not surprising, given the German nature of many of the companies) with Germany, Austria, and Norway, and intend to have 20 stations ready to go by the end of this year.

In the next three years, they hope to increase that number to 400.

However, the aforementioned Tesla also has big plans for Europe, and won’t yield to this coalition just because they’re the home team. Tesla recently announced a huge supercharger station in Norway, with 42 stalls and 145kW capacity. Still, the competition is bound to be fierce, which can only be good for EV consumers – and the planet. We’re excited to see where these powerhouses of industry go next!


Surprising Upside To Global Warming

There’s some good news on the environmental front, but it might be a double-edged sword, scientists say. In 1987 the Montreal Protocol was signed by 197 countries as a promise to stop the growth of a hole in Earth’s ozone layer by limiting their release of certain chemicals. NASA announced in September of this year that the hole is now the smallest it’s been since the accord was signed.

However, this may not be due to human efforts – at least not entirely. It turns out that the Antarctic Vortex may have prevented the chemical reactions that cause ozone deterioration from occurring. The vortex is the result of warmer temperatures (due to global warming) combining with the low pressure system above Antarctica. In other words, global warming may temporarily be helping the ozone hole.

Goddard Space Flight Center chief Earth scientist Paul A. Newman explained the unexpected phenomenon by comparing it to another weather event. “It’s like hurricanes. Some years there are fewer hurricanes that come onshore…this is a year in which the weather conditions led to better ozone [formation].”

However, this is not to say that the Montreal Protocol hasn’t been instrumental in the ozone hole’s reduction. Without the efforts of the international agreement, NASA estimates that 65% of the ozone would be gone by 2065! As it happens, the hole shrinks every day – sometimes aided by rising planetary temperatures!

London Gets It’s Own Zero Waste Grocery Store

Sustainability is taking huge steps forward. There are tons of ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle, and zero waste shopping locations are turning out to be one of them. Zero waste means zero plastic or paper bags, and no excessive packaging. Take the Bulk Market in Hackney, London for instance. Food items are placed in glass jars and bulk dispensers. These are all items that can be reused in the future to store more items.

The best part? The products themselves are free from brand names and locally sourced. This way, profits stay within the community, and money that would otherwise be wasted on transportation and branding is saved!

The store owner, Ingrid Caldironi, faced challenges initially trying to adopt a zero waste lifestyle. It’s otherwise inconvenient to not use a plastic bag at a traditional grocery store for example. Rather than complain of submit to an wasteful lifestyle, Caldironi took it upon herself to create the Bulk Market and bring her aspirations to fruition.

So far, her endeavours have been well received. While the Bulk Market doesn’t have a physical location just yet, Ingrid has the support of her community, and the know how to go from pop up grocery store to brick and mortar. We’ll stay tuned to see her progress!s

Energy Education

Protecting our environment is a huge job. As a result, it takes everyone doing their part for this to happen. From individuals, to large corporations that use tons of resources every year. Aflac seems to be taking their responsibility to heart with a bit of help from Georgia Power.

Georgia Power performed Aflac’s corporate energy audit, essentially determining Aflac’s energy costs, usages, and dependencies. For corporations, energy audits are great ways to cut down on waste, excessive spending and pollution. Aflac employees also got free education on efficient energy usage and saving.

This is pretty important, especially since the most the average person can do for the environment is typically to curtail their own waste. In addition, saving energy is cost effective, and thanks to modern technology, cost efficient too.

If you aren’t an Aflac employee, the good news is that you can access free information on saving energy from Georgia Power’s website. You can also learn more about the ways Aflac is helping the environment by going here