Wind could supply nearly 20% of global power by 2030 – report
Installed wind power capacity could swell by 530% to 2,000 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, supplying up to 19% of global electricity, a report from a trade association and Greenpeace said on Tuesday.
It said installed wind energy capacity totalled 318 GW at the end of last year worldwide and provided around 3% of global electricity supply. Capacity is set to grow by another 45 GW to 363 GW this year.
In some parts of the world, particularly in Europe, people have objected to wind power due to government subsidies which they claim have contributed towards rising energy bills.
But Steve Sawyer, chief executive of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), said: "Wind power has become the least-cost option when adding new capacity to the grid in an increasing number of markets, and prices continue to fall."
The GWEC, which represents 1,500 wind power producers, looked at the future of the wind energy industry to 2020, 2030 and 2050 under three scenarios based on existing and future emissions reduction and renewable energy policies.
Based on International Energy Agency forecasts, it said cumulative installed wind energy capacity could reach 611 GW by 2020 and 964 GW by 2030.
Under the report's "moderate" scenario, based on existing renewable energy policies and assuming that emissions reductions agreed next year in Paris under a global climate deal will be modest, installed wind capacity could reach 712 GW by 2020, nearly 1 500 GW by 2030 and around 2 670 GW by mid-century.
That means wind energy could meet 7% and 8% of global electricity demand by 2020, 13% to 15% by 2030 and 17% and 20% by 2050.
Under the "advanced" scenario, based on more ambitious growth rates and assuming that a robust global climate deal is in place, installed capacity could reach 800 GW by 2020, nearly 2 000 GW by 2030 and over 4,000 by 2050.
That means wind energy could provide 8-9% of global electricity supply by 2020, 17-19% by 2030 and 26-31% by mid-century.
"Given the urgency to cut down CO2 emissions and continued reliance on imported fossil fuels, wind power's pivotal role in the world's future energy supply is assured," Sawyer said.
The report identified Brazil, Mexico and South Africa as areas for new growth in wind energy. Brazil is set to install nearly 4 GW this year alone, while Mexico should add around 2 GW a year for the next 10 years.