Imagine a world two decades from now in which a new wind turbine is installed every seven minutes.
That impressive scenario was raised last week in Beijing just before the China Wind Power 2010 conference by Sven Teske, Senior Energy Expert from Greenpeace International.
Teske was commenting on the Global Wind Energy Outlook 2010 report which found wind power could provide about one-fifth of the world’s electricity by 2030.
While many of the EU’s environment ministers are still dithering over a possible move to 30% emissions cuts, it is heartening to see that big businesses are a step ahead.
29 companies, including BNP Paribas, Google, Unilever and Vodafone, have put their names to a declaration calling for tougher climate targets that has been sent to the EU institutions. The declaration supports recent statements from ministers from Denmark, France, Germany and the UK that higher emissions reductions will boost growth and create jobs, a point of view made forcibly by EU Commissioner for Climate Change Connie Hedegaard at an EWEA-organised debate last week in Brussels.
Ironically, the organisation BusinessEurope, which represents EU employers, was claiming almost at the same time that increasing the EU’s emissions reduction target would be “premature and even counterproductive” in a letter to the Belgian EU Presidency. It seems that some in the business community are more far-sighted than others in recognising the huge economic and job creation potential of zero-carbon technologies like wind energy. Certainly EWEA, which has 650 members including many businesses, believes an increase to 30% emissions reductions is crucial for Europe’s economy as well as its environment.
A short note to say I am on maternity leave from next week. The blog will be left in the capable hands of regular correspondent Chris Rose, and the Editor of Wind Directions magazine Sarah Azau.
Since the blog was launched in April this year it has gone from strength to strength with a constantly growing number of followers. And there’s plenty more to look forward to on the horizon including live coverage from our GRIDS 2010 conference in Berlin in late November this year.
I look forward to returning to blog editing next Spring!
By Guest blogger Angelika Pullen, Global Wind Energy Council
Many developments in China can only be described in superlatives, and wind power is no exception. When I first visited Beijing to attend the ministerial Beijing Renewable Energy Conference (BIREC) in 2005, the city looked very different, and so did the wind energy industry. Back then, China only had around 1,000 MW of installed wind capacity, and when the government used the conference to announce its target of reaching 30 GW of wind capacity by 2020, this seemed nearly insanely ambitious.
And yet, a mere five years later, China has already achieved this target, 10 years early. Not only that – industry experts predict that at least 40 GW worth of wind turbines will be operating in China by the end of this year; possibly more. Given the current difficult situation in the US, there is even a distinct possibility that the world’s largest economy would have to cede its place as leading wind power country to China at the end of December this year. If that doesn’t happen, it almost certainly will in 2011.
What explains the dramatic growth of wind power in China? Genuine political commitment is certainly the deciding factor, something the US has been lacking to date. In 2005, the Chinese government passed the Renewable Energy law, which attracted both foreign and domestic investors to flock into the market. Nearly all large European, US and Indian wind turbine manufacturers established themselves in China to secure a piece of the (very large) cake. But China now also counts more than 30 domestic wind turbine manufacturers, three of which are now among the world’s leading suppliers, as well as an entire supply chain serving the industry.
UN talks on a possible international climate-saving deal are due to begin in December, but Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Change, last night warned that countries including China are steaming ahead with a revolution in carbon-cutting technology, with or without a global accord.
“Many parties are moving slowly in negotiations but not in reality,” she said at an EWEA debate “Wind of change – how Europe can benefit from reducing emissions by 30%” held in Brussels.
Wind power in China, for example, was virtually non existent 10 years ago, but today China has 50% of the global market, she said at the debate held on the eve of the EU environment council where environment ministers will be deciding the EU’s strategy ahead of the UN talks to be held in Cancun, Mexico.