The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has released its biennial Global Wind Energy Outlook, outlining scenarios in which wind could supply 20% of global electricity by 2030. The report also looks at four scenarios exploring the future of the wind industry in 2020, 2030 and 2050.
By 2030, according to the report, wind power could reach 2,110 GW and supply up to 20% of global electricity – in turn, creating 2.4 million new jobs, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 3.3 billion metric tons per year and attracting an annual investment of about EUR 200 billion.
With dramatic price decreases in recent years for wind, solar and other renewables, a decarbonized power sector is not only technically feasible but also economically competitive. GWEC notes that new markets are developing rapidly across Africa, Asia and Latin America and supplying clean energy to support sustainable development.
“Now that the Paris Agreement is coming into force, countries need to get serious about what they committed to last December,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC’s secretary general. “Meeting the Paris targets means a completely decarbonized electricity supply well before 2050, and wind power will play the major role in getting us there.”
The report notes that global wind energy installations totaled 433 GW as of the end of 2015, and the industry is set to grow by another 60 GW in 2016.
“Wind power is the most competitive option for adding new capacity to the grid in a growing number of markets,” continued 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.”
“Decarbonizing the global energy system includes the transport sector as a major emitter of carbon,” said Dr. Sven Teske, research principal for the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney and the report’s lead analyst. “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.”
He added, “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.”
GWEC’s full report can be found here.