Wind turbines symbolise the green revolution

Tall towers of grey steel topped by three slender blades dot not just the countryside and increasingly the sea, but they also appear on a whole range of literature from information leaflets on local environmental movements to the billboards of energy giants displaying the fact that they have adopted environmentally friendly power.

There are a few surprises. Take Belgium’s latest stamp design – a light green background superimposed with an eye-catching dark green turbine, by Belgian designer Clotilde Olyff. Turbines have decorated stamps in Denmark and Canada too. Or, beauty product company Aveda who in 2008 produced a series of advertisements showing models with windswept hair standing in a field of turbines. The caption read, “first beauty company manufacturing with 100% wind power: Beauty is as beauty does.”

Wind turbines have become a symbol for progress in poorer countries. In an invitation to the launch of the United Nations Population Fund report, ‘State of world population 2009, facing a changing world: women, population and climate,’ the UNFPA used a picture of a woman carrying firewood on her head walking towards a wind farm set in a dusty, red soil.

Some adverts are even more inventive than straight-forward photos of wind turbines. The National Trust in the UK displayed its alliance with green energy provider npower with a hand-sketched turbine decorated with underwater vines growing up it and shells and sea-snails at its base. Vattenfall asked readers of the Financial Times to sign a climate manifesto calling for political action on carbon cutting illustrating its request with a sketch of a turbine composed of hundreds of signatures. In 2008, Vestas sponsored the European weather section in the Financial Times with a map of Europe covered in isobars, suns, clouds, temperatures and a wind turbine in the sea off the west coast of Ireland.

Even banks use wind turbines in their advertising: Société Générale said they support green energy: “with green business, we stand by you to open up new economic horizons,” the advert says with a picture of two men discussing business, miniature turbines on the table in front of them. The co-operative bank claimed in an advert: “We believe it’s our responsibility to ensure our carbon footprint isn’t of Yeti-like proportions. So we’ve taken a big step for a retailer and had a wind farm built on our land.”

Belgium’s francophone region, Wallonia, uses bright white wind turbines to decorate its business portal. Meanwhile, UK four-by-four manufacturer, Land Rover, shows a windswept field with a wind turbine powered factory. “For the last 60 years our vehicles have worked on farms. Now one of the engine plants is powered by one,” it says. Alter’Eco-Logis, a small company near Strasbourg specialising in natural ways to insulate, paint and varnish houses, uses a wind turbine in its logo to display its green credentials.

While it’s no surprise that the big green power generating companies use wind turbines in their advertising, their slogans show a mix of the nature-inspired to the modernity-driven. In adverts the Cez Group says “all power springs from nature”, Vestas says “Wind is modern energy”, and in a separate advert “the wind power is picking up”, and Accerlor Mittal says “wind + boldness = Watts. Boldness is about working with nature…so it can work for us”. Adding a more technical perspective, ABB shows turbines installed on a spit and asks: “Connect emission-free power to the grid? Naturally”.

Wind it seems is also the subject of dreams. With a picture of a girl testing out the wind direction, energy company Suzlon says: “there’s enough potential in wind energy to power every dream. Why should your career be an exception?” At EWEA, we couldn’t agree more.