Greenpeace International and the Global Wind Energy Council released the fourth edition of the Global Wind Energy Outlook last week.
The outlook says wind power could provide up to 12% of global electricity by 2020 under its “Advanced” scenario where sufficient support is provided, creating 1.4 million new jobs and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1.5 billion tons per year in the process. Looking further ahead, wind power could generate more than 20% of global electricity supply by 2030.
“It is clear that wind energy is going to play a major role in our energy future”, said Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council. “But for wind to reach its full potential, governments need to act quickly to address the climate crisis, while there’s still time.”
Wind energy installation capacity amounted to 240 GW globally by the end of 2011. Under the Advanced scenario, it could reach 1,100 GW by 2020.
Up until two years ago, the industry was on track to meet the GWEO Advanced scenario. The culprits for the loss of ground says the report were a recession in much of the OECD, a lack of EU ambition to attend to the issues in its emission trading system and fickle policy in the US and elsewhere
The wind energy sector experienced a flat market in 2010 and modest growth in 2011 and 2012. For next year, the outlook is still uncertain.
For the OECD Pacific region, which includes Australia; wind power capacity could grow from 5,755MW in 2011 to 24,218MW in 2015; 74,702MW in 2020 and a whopping 177,690MW by 2030 under an Advanced scenario.
The GWEC says wind power is now competitive in a growing number of markets, even when competing against heavily subsidised traditional energy sources, with little or no financial compensation for its environmental and social benefits including zero carbon dioxide emissions and water use, and no air or water pollution.
The full Global Wind Energy Outlook can be viewed here (PDF).