Wind Power: Photo competition winners announced

A solitary wind turbine stands before the eerie flashes of green Aurora Australis cloud in Antarctica, meanwhile another turbine faces a threateningly dark curved cloud sweeping in from the west – these are just two of the winning images of the Global Wind Day 2012 ‘Wind In Mind’ photo competition announced today.

Launched in May 2012, the ‘Wind In Mind’ photo competition invited budding and professional photographers alike to send their images of wind energy that depicted the emissions-free technology in new and inspiring ways.

The European Wind Energy Association received 2,300 entries to the competition, giving the professional jury a tough challenge. After days of negotiation, the winners were chosen by geographic region, and then an overall winner was selected.

Overall winner, Markus Haslinger, took this image of turbines at the Inning wind farm in Lower Austria piercing a layer of low-lying cloud with bright sun-shining above while paragliding one morning. “I went paragliding early in the morning and found myself above these bizzare waves of fog, with the turbines sticking out like giants,” Haslinger said.

Haslinger is an active mountaineer, fisher and nature-lover. “My goal is always to live in good symbiosis with Mother Nature. I take photos of the fascinating moments I experience to show other people the amazing world we live in,” he said.

“I am extremely happy about winning this Global Wind Day competition…It is like winning the lottery!” he said. “I hope the photo can help to sensitise people world-wide to the importance of wind energy. Wind turbines as a renewable energy are for me perfect symbols of a functioning, future-orientated union of man and nature,” Haslinger added.

In the Asia category, winner Luca Catalano Gonza explained that the photo was taken as part of the ‘Child Survival in a Changing Climate’ project which aims to show the consequences of climate change on the environment and living of populations, especially children. The wind farm is situated at Dhule in Maharashtra, 200 miles away from Mumbai. “This farm produces sufficient clean electricity to eliminate the production of approximately 70,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year,” Gonza said.

The angle of the wind turbine blades almost exactly matches the angle of the stork’s wings in Franz Weinhofer’s winning entry in the Europe category. “My thinking is green and I am worried about how mankind is treating the finite resources of our planet,” Weinhofer said. “Wind energy in my view is the most gentle method of generating electricity and for me as a photographer, wind turbines are esthetical objects. Of course I am also enthusiastic about the technology,” he added.

In the Australia/ Oceania/ Antarctica category, the wining photo captured a wind turbine set against a backdrop of the Southern Lights in Antarctica. The frame, captured by Chris Wilson, was taken at Mawson station. “At the time I was living and working at the station for 14 months, and had many opportunities to witness and photograph the beautiful Aurora Australis. We have two 300kW wind turbines at Mawson which are capable of carrying 100% of the station load for long periods of time,” Wilson said. The turbines have been specially adapted to the tough climate conditions of the Antarctic.

“Before the introduction of renewable energy systems, Australian stations required 2.1 mega litres of diesel fuel annually to provide power and heating. Burning this fuel produced around 5,500 tonnes of CO2 into the pristine Antarctic environment,” Wilson said, but now “Mawson station is able to produce environmentally friendly power via the wind turbines to supply both electricity and heat,” he added.

The winning photo of a dramatic storm cloud approaching a wind farm in the Americas category was taken by wind turbine technician Jeff Chamberland. “I currently am constructing turbines in Alberta, Canada. I was an electrician for eight years and made the career change to wind energy to take a proactive approach to doing my part. Being in the wind industry gives me a great feeling of contribution to the world,” Chamberland said.

Focussing on the benefits wind energy brings to the community, the winning photo in the Africa category went to Electrawinds Africa and Indian Ocean Islands. The South African Wind Energy Association said they were “delighted that an entry from South Africa won the regional competition.”

“The award recognises that wind power is about people as much as it is about electricity. Our vision is to create a South African industry with local content throughout the wind value chain and through to skills transfer and training of technical wind experts from our shores for the R & D and maintenance needs of the long term wind industry in South Africa. We endorse the involvement of local communities in the financial and emotional ownership structure of projects,” SAWEA said.

By Zoë Casey,