Wind power could meet nearly a quarter of total global electricity demand by 2030, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) most optimistic predictions.
In a report out earlier this week in conjunction with Greenpeace International, Global Wind Energy Outlook 2012, the GWEC models and compares three scenarios representing the status quo, a ‘moderate’ scenario encompassing current support and planned support mechanisms for wind power, and an ‘advanced’ scenario where a more ambitious path is followed.
Under those scenarios, the base level projects an essentially flat market until 2015 followed by a small decline to 2030, by which point wind energy would be providing some 8-9% of total global electricity demand.
The middle way predicts a market topping 70 GW by 2020 with total cumulative installed capacity reaching 759 GW. By 2030, an annual market of 100 GW a year would create total capacity of 1600 GW. This would meet around 14-16% of global demand.
The most ambitious growth programme would see the annual market reaching 130 GW by 2020, with the total installed capacity topping 1150 GW. By 2030, that impressive growth would mean total installed capacity of 2500 GW and up to nearly 25% of total electricity demand.
Investing in a high level of wind power could be saving 9.25 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2020, adding up to 37.5 billion tonnes by 2030. Even the less ambitious scenarios could save between 17.5 billion tonnes and 25 billion tonnes by 2030.
The sector could also be a welcome source of jobs for nations burdened with high unemployment rates. The report estimates that currently some 650,000 people are employed within the sector, which could rise to 2.6 million by 2030 under the most ambitious growth plan.
For further information:
European wind capacity reaches 100 GW to power 57 million homes (1-Oct)
US wind energy blows through 50 GW but uncertainty ahead (14-Aug)
Global wind capacity increases over 20% to 238 GW (10-Feb)
Global wind power could meet 22% of demand by 2030 (14-Oct 2010)
15 November 2012