Wind Power

Wind Power Experiencing Exponential Growth Globally

A new study from Energy Watch Group “Wind Power in Context – A Clean Revolution in the Energy Sector” shows that there has been exponential growth in wind power capacity since the early 1990s. With net capacity additions of almost 20,000 megawatts in 2007 the report suggests that, contrary to IEA forecasts, growth of wind power additions will continue and that it will be driven not just by costs for fossil fuels and nuclear cost overruns, but by access to new wind resources, new grid regulations and by cheaper and better wind technology.

The author of the report, Dr. Rudolf Rechsteiner, explored the drivers behind the growth in wind power identifying sixteen key attributes that will continue to drive growth. These include a free primary energy, an infinite resource supply, global accessibility to supply, stable life cycle cost guarantee, increasing price competitiveness, zero operational carbon emissions or hazardous waste, zero requirement for cooling water, decreased payback times and fast innovation cycles.  

The study explores four different scenarios for power consumption and wind generation which see, should the growth of the last ten years continue, the potential for global wind power generation (accompanied by solar) to match that of conventional generation by 2025.  

Scenario A: High power consumption and high wind power growth sees renewables exceed 50 percent of global electricity provision before 2025 with a total demand of 37600 terrawatt-hours (TWh) and wind generation capacity of 7,500,000 megawatts (MW) worldwide, producing 16400 TWh. Wind energy, alongside with solar, would conquer a 50 percent market share of global new power plant installations by 2019. Global non-renewable power generation would peak in 2018 and could be phased out completely by 2037.

Scenario B: High power consumption and moderate wind power growth (15.2 percent per year, half the rate historically observed 1998-2007) sees renewables at 23 percent of global electricity provision in 2025, with a total demand of 37600 TWh and a wind generation capacity of 1,837,000 MW worldwide, producing some 4023 TWh (including a non specified amount of solar). As a result, wind energy would conquer a 50 percent market share of global new power plant installations by 2033, alongside with solar.

Scenario C:
Moderate power consumption growth (1.8 percent per year) and high wind power growth sees renewables exceed 65 percent of global electricity provision in 2025, with a total electricity demand at 27430 TWh and a wind capacity of 5,212,000 MW worldwide, producing 11,414 TWh. As a result, wind energy will conquer a 50 percent market share of global new power plant installations by 2017, alongside with solar.

Scenario D: Moderate power consumption (1.8 percent per year) and moderate wind power growth (15.2 percent) sees renewables exceed 31 percent of global electricity provision in 2025, with a total electricity demand of 27430 TWh and a wind generation capacity of 1,837,000 MW worldwide, producing 4023 TWh. As a result, wind energy will conquer a 50 percent market share of global new power plant installations by 2026, along with solar.

Click here to learn more about the scenarios and to download the report.