Wind power could reach 2,110 GW by 2030, supply up to 20% of global electricity and attract annual investment of about EUR 200 billion, if the governments across the globe turn out to be serious about meeting the targets set out in the Paris Agreement, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) said in its biennial Global Wind Energy Outlook.
The industry could also create 2.4 million new jobs and reduce CO2 emissions by more than 3.3 billion tonnes per year, GWEC said.
“Now that the Paris Agreement is coming into force, countries need to get serious about what they committed to last December. Meeting the Paris targets means a completely decarbonised electricity supply well before 2050, and wind power will play the major role in getting us there,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General.
With dramatic price decreases in recent years for wind, solar and other renewables, a decarbonized power sector is not only technically feasible, but is economically competitive as well, GWEC said. New markets are developing rapidly across Africa, Asia and Latin America, supplying clean energy to support sustainable development.
“Wind power is the most competitive option for adding new capacity to the grid in a growing number of markets,” said Sawyer, “but if the Paris agreement targets are to be reached, that means closing fossil fuel fired power plants and replacing them with wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass. That will be the hard part, and governments will have to get serious about it if they are to live up to the commitments to which they have now bound themselves.”
The new report examines the International Energy Agency’s central scenario from its World Energy Outlook, the New Policies Scenario, and is compared with the IEA’s 450 Scenario, the GWEC Moderate Scenario and the GWEC Advanced Scenario. The results show how the global wind industry will deliver in terms of global electricity supply, CO2 emissions savings, employment, cost reductions, and investment. These four supply-side scenarios are then compared with two different scenarios for the development of electricity demand.
“Decarbonising the global energy system includes the transport sector as a major emitter of carbon. The market for electric mobility, both in regard to electric vehicles as well as public transport, will continue to grow significantly and with this electricity demand for the transport sector. Wind power is in a pole position to supply this future power demand making the wind industry one of the key industries of the energy sector,” said the report’s lead analyst Dr. Sven Teske, Research Principal for the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney.
Global wind energy installations totalled 433 GW as of the end of 2015, and the industry is set to grow by another 60 GW in 2016, according to GWEC.