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A feasibility study to develop local and regional use of wind energy on the Kola Peninsula, Murmansk region, Russia

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Harnessing wind energy

At a time when energy resources are quickly being depleted, wind energy could provide the perfect solution to the problem, as it meets both human energy needs and environmental protection requirements. Within this context, the KOLA WIND project examines the benefits and viability of wind energy on the Kola Peninsula in Russia.

Energy

The advantages of using wind energy are manifold. Not only is it a renewable type of energy resource as it is abundant, it is also completely environmentally friendly. Wind energy does not emit pollutants, nor does it generate hazardous by-products. As a result, harnessing wind energy could yield electricity supplies that are diverse, sustainable and environmentally safe. In order to capture the benefits of wind energy, the KOLA WIND project conducted a feasibility study to develop local and regional use of wind energy on the Kola Peninsula, in the Murmansk region of Russia. The consortium of Finnish, German, Danish, Russian and Greek researchers sought to construct a firm basis for the integration of wind energy into the energy supply system of the Kola Peninsula. The scope of the feasibility study adopted a multi-disciplinary approach that fused social, economical, and technological issues. It is within this scope that the researchers believe that wind energy could not only benefit the environment, but also invigorate the economic welfare of the region by making the establishment of small and medium-sized enterprises viable. Furthermore, the feasibility study of the KOLA WIND project generated interesting findings. Firstly, the region exhibited a general need for wind energy as a source of electricity. Both off-grid and grid connected communities could benefit from wind energy as off-grid areas are dependent on diesel generator sets for electricity while grid connected areas often suffer from inadequate electricity supplies or have a high electric load. Most important is the fact that wind resources in the area are good and that it is technically possible to satisfy the needs of these communities using wind energy technology. In addition, federal, regional, and local administrations expressed an interest in wind energy as a viable option. Similarly, local industries are keen on broadening their business horizons within the wind energy sector. Unfortunately, the feasibility study also highlighted several obstacles in implementing wind energy technology as a source of electricity in this particular region. The researchers did not distinguish local industries with the technical know-how or the financial resources needed to launch wind energy infrastructures. As a result, the consortium assessed the situation and identified the need for long-term collaboration with foreign companies in order to achieve a technology transfer. Similarly, the feasibility study indicates that it is not possible for local financing of wind energy investments to occur, and as a result expert aid is required so as to attract international investors to the region. In essence, the KOLA WIND feasibility study concluded that political and administrative cooperation must take place to initiate the financial and commercial framework needed to promote wind energy technology. Also, a technology carrier must be identified while the funding of wind energy technology will probably originate from international investors. Yet, despite these obstacles, wind energy could in the future prove to be advantageous for both human energy consumption and environmental welfare.

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