In 2007, the European Union pledged to significantly reduce carbon emissions by 2020. To further this goal, European countries have agreed to produce 20% of their energy from renewable sources such as wind farms and solar energy. Sweden has the most ambitious clean energy target in the European Union. It seeks to produce 50% of its energy from renewable sources, including Europe’s largest wind farm, within the next ten years.
There are currently six operational wind farms in Sweden and more in the development phase. The largest proposed project is a series of wind farms to be built in a secluded 175 square mile area in Markbygden in Northern Sweden. The region has excellent wind conditions. The turbines would be built near three existing power lines which can be utilized to distribute the generated electricity. The Markgygden wind farm would include over 1000 wind turbines and is expected to generate 10 terawatt (10 trillion watts) hours per year. It will cost $6.9 billion dollars to build and could be completed within 12-15 years. The wind farm is expected to be the largest on-shore source of wind energy in Europe.
In 2009, the Norrbotten county administrative board in Sweden recommended that the government grant a permit to the Swedish company Markbygden Vind AB to build the wind farm. According to an April 6, 2009, press release issued by regional authorities, the permit will only be issued if the farm does not impact defense interests, and fauna and forest reindeer will be adequately protected. The government will not make a decision until 2010 and, to date, no construction contract has been signed.
Seventy-five percent of Markbygden Vind AB is owned by Svevind Holding which has extensive experience in wind farm technology and has already received permits to construct other facilities in Sweden. The other twenty-five percent of the company is owned by the German company Enercon which is one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers.
Clean energy solutions are among the items to be addressed by organizations promoting the dot eco initiative. Dot Eco LLC, with support from Al Gore, the Alliance for Climate Protection, Sierra Club and Surfrider have applied to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for an “.eco” top level domain. ICANN restricts the number of top level domains (such as .com or .org) but is currently reviewing applications for additional domains. The Dot eco initiative consists of a team of internet technicians, scientists, and media experts who plan to use the domain name to connect environmentally-minded people across the globe. A portion of the registration fees generated by those registering “.eco” sites will be donated to green causes. It represents a further development in the world’s progress towards clean, sustainable energy.