Ethiopia Building Large Wind Farm

Ethiopia will soon be home to the largest wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa, thanks to its agreement with Vergnet, a French wind turbine manufacturer.

The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPC) signed a deal with Vergnet earlier this month to install 120 one-megawatt wind turbines in the next three years. The first 30 of the turbines will be in place as early as next year. The 120 MW wind farm would represent 15 percent of Ethiopia's power generating capacity and bring Ethiopia's total capacity to 934 MW.

Ethiopia relies heavily on hydroelectric power, which has resulted in a track record of power shortages, especially because of droughts. Some of these, however, have come from the EEPC deliberately imposing power outages.

The wind farm will be located in Ethiopia's northeastern Tigray region.


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Abu Dhabi Launches International Media Center

The city of Abu Dhabi--capital city of the United Arab Emirates--is opening a 200,000 square-meter campus called the Abu Dhabi Media Zone, built by the government to house foreign media companies, local officials announced Sunday. CNN, HarperCollins, Random House, the British Broadcasting Corporation, The Financial Times and the Thomson Reuters Foundation--the charity arm of financial news corporation Thomson Retuers--will join the Abu Dhabi Media Zone, according to the New York Times.

CNN will move nearly 30 staff members to Abu Dhabi, and will begin broadcasting a prime-time news show from the city on CNN International. London, Hong Kong and Mexico City are the only three other international cities from which CNN has the capability to produce studio broadcasts.

The strong sales growth of English-language books in the Middle East attracted HarperCollins and Random House to the area. Abu Dhabi, which recently hosted the Middle East International Film Festival, is also known for its interest in films and in film education. Flush with wealth from oil money, Abu Dhabi has plenty of money to invest in the arts. The Abu Dhabi Media Company recently announced a plan to spend $1 billion to start a film financing branch to invest in Hollywood-style, English-language movies. Last year, the company agreed to a $1 billion deal with Warner Brothers to make video games and movies.

The creation of this campus puts Abu Dhabi one step closer to reaching its goal of becoming a cultural and media center for the Middle East. The Abu Dhabi Media Zone will offer training for the region's journalists and filmmakers as well as provide a base for Western companies to conduct business. The first ever U.A.E. Press Freedom Day was held in Abu Dhabi last month, with the goal of encouraging the government to be more open and to make information more accessible.

Source: New York Times

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Leno And Bush Invest In Wind Turbines

Jay Leno and George H. W. Bush are two individuals who have recently installed residential wind turbines on their property. A residential wind turbine can lower your electricity bill by 50 to 90 percent, and pay off the initial investment in six to 15 years, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) . Bush installed a 33-foot tall Skystream 3.7 at his at his Kennebunkport, Maine home. Jay Leno installed a Delta II by PacWind on his garage (link to video).

The Skystream 3.7 is produced by Southwest Wind Power, which has sold about 2,000 wind turbines nationwide. Prices start at about $12,000 for the device, which uses magnetic technology to produce energy even at low wind speeds. According to the Portland (Maine) Press Herald, it can produce 400 kilowatts per month with 12 mph winds. It was designed to work in residential neighborhoods and has noise isolators to minimize noise. You can also choose the remote monitoring option that allows you to monitor the output of your device from your home. As with solar energy, there is the potential to sell excess electricity back to the utility company during periods of good wind availability. Of course, location is an important factor when choosing wind, so if you live in high wind area--such as the Pacific Northwest--a wind turbine can be a solid investment. Even if you don’t live where there is a lot of wind, there are some turbines that can produce energy at winds as low as 3 miles per hour because of their high-powered magnets.

While the AWEA claims that a typical residential wind system makes less noise than an average washing machine, and even though they are only as tall as an average tree, one drawback is dealing with unhappy neighbors and homeowners' associations. Some cities have ordinances that ban residential turbines over a certain height. And while installation of a residential wind turbine can possibly increase the value of your home, it may hurt the value of the surrounding properties. Despite the pollution-free energy, there have been several situations where citizens have opposed commercial wind turbines because they don’t want to look at them. Despite the potential complaints, as technology improves to produce smaller and cheaper units and the energy situation worsens, it is likely that more and more individuals will follow the example set by Leno and Bush and look to buy their own backyard wind turbine.

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