Wind power and other renewables supplied an estimated 16% of global final energy consumption last year and delivered close to 20% of global electricity production, according to a comprehensive new report published Tuesday.
The REN21 Renewables 2011 Global Status Report released in Paris also showed that the renewable energy sector continues to perform well despite continuing economic recession, incentive cuts, and low natural-gas prices.
By Raha Obaei
The UK government has called for ambitious goals on offshore wind energy in the government’s ‘UK Renewable Energy Roadmap’, published on Tuesday. The targets – for 18 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2020 instead of 13 GW called for by the Committee on Climate Change, a government advisory body – have been made with the hopes of making the UK one of the largest offshore wind power hubs in the world.
The wind industry is rapidly expanding, that much you probably already know. But did you know that it is expanding so fast that both the European Wind Energy Association and the European Commission have consistently underestimated the future wind power capacity they expect to be installed?
Going back to 1997, when the European Commission first talked about targets for renewable energy, a Commission White Paper set a non-binding goal of 40 GW of wind power by 2010. This target was exceeded by more than double: by the end of 2010 there were 84.3 GW of wind power in Europe. Impressively, the 40 GW target was reached five years early.
More than 50 percent of 31,000 people surveyed worldwide say they would pay more for products made with clean energy. In addition, 90 percent want more renewable energy and 79 percent have a more positive perception of brands produced using wind energy.
The poll, conducted in May 2011 by TNS Gallup and commissioned by wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, points to the importance ordinary people place on finding solutions to climate change – a full “53 percent of Chinese consumers rank climate change as the world’s greatest single challenge”, according to the poll.
On Tuesday the European Parliament voted against a 30% greenhouse gas cutting target by 2020 – a disappointing move that could, at its worst, damage European leadership in climate-fighting technologies.
While the vote did not have any actual legislative influence, it does send a negative signal to the EU decision-making world.