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BB200610, News in Brief

Wind Power key to fight Climate Change

26.11.2006

One third of the world’s electricity can be supplied by wind; 113 billion tonnes of CO2 saved by 2050, says industry report

The development of wind power is key in the fight against dangerous climate change, concludes ‘Global Wind Energy Outlook 2006’, a report launched by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and Greenpeace International. The report examines the future potential for wind power up to the year 2050 and is an industry blueprint that explains how wind power could supply 34% of the world’s electricity by 2050 and 16.5% by 2020. Most importantly, wind power would save 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2020.

“Wind power will significantly reduce CO2 emissions, which is key in the fight against dangerous climate change,” says Sven Teske, Energy Expert of Greenpeace International. “The required CO2 reduction of one third by 2020 and half by 2050 can only be achieved if wind power plays a major role in the power sector. Getting this right will be critical if governments are going to be able to meet their medium and longer term climate targets – wind energy is going to play a major role in the future; the only question is whether or not it plays that role soon enough to help us reach our climate goal of keeping global mean temperature rise below 2 o C. We urge Governments to support wind power development via electricity market reforms and by cutting down subsidies for fossil and nuclear fuels.”

In addition to climate change, other challenges such as security of energy supply and the increasing volatility of fossil fuel prices are important drivers for wind power.

“Wind energy is the most attractive solution to the world’s energy challenges. It is clean and fuel-free. Moreover, wind is indigenous and enough wind blows across the globe to cope with the ever increasing electricity demand. This report demonstrates that wind technology is not a dream for the future – it is real, it is mature and it can be deployed on a large scale,” said Arthouros Zervos, GWEC’s Chairman. “ The political choices of the coming years will determine the world’s environmental and economic situation for many decades to come.”

The ‘Global Wind Energy Outlook 2006’ runs three different scenarios for wind power – a Reference scenario based on figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA); a Moderate version which assumes that current targets for renewable energy are successful; and an advanced version assuming that all policy options in favour of renewables have been adopted. These are then set against two scenarios for global energy demand. Under the Reference scenario, growth in demand is again based on IEA projections; under the High Energy Efficiency version, a range of energy efficiency measures result in a substantial reduction in demand (1).

Wind power has experienced major growth in OECD countries, especially the United States and Europe, with significant growth in developing countries such as China and India (2). The global market for wind power has been expanding faster than any other source of renewable energy. From just 4,800 MW in 1995 the world total has multiplied more than twelve-fold to reach over 59,000 MW at the end of 2005. The international market is expected to have an annual turnover in 2006 of more than € 13 billion, with an estimated 150,000 people employed around the world (3). The success of the industry has attracted investors from the mainstream finance and traditional energy sectors.

A copy of the Global Wind Energy Outlook 2006 report can be downloaded at: www.gwec.net

(1) The results show that wind energy can make a major contribution towards satisfying the global need for clean, renewable electricity within the next 30 years and that its penetration in the supply system can be substantially increased if serious energy efficiency measures are implemented at the same time. Under the Reference wind power scenario, wind energy would supply 5 % of the world’s electricity by 2030 and 6.6 % by 2050. Under the Moderate scenario, wind energy’s contribution would range from 15.6 % in 2030 to 17.7 % by 2050. Under the Advanced scenario, wind energy’s contribution to world electricity demand would range from 29.1 % in 2030 up to 34.2 % by 2050.All three scenarios assume that an increasing proportion of new wind power capacity is installed in growing markets such as South America, China, the Pacific and South Asia.

(2) In 2005, the global wind energy sector registered another record year, with a total of 11,531 MW of new capacity installed. This represented a 40.5% increase on an annual basis and a 24% cumulative growth. Wind power is now established as an energy source in over 50 countries around the world. Those with the highest totals in 2005 were Germany (18,428 MW), Spain (10,027 MW), the USA (9,149 MW), India (4,430 MW) and Denmark (3,122 MW). A number of other countries, including Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, China, Japan and Portugal, have reached the 1,000 MW mark.

(3) Employment: The number of jobs created by the wind energy market will range from 480,000 in 2030 under the Reference scenario to 1.1 million under the Moderate scenario and to 2.1 million under the Advanced scenario. Carbon dioxide savings: Savings will range from an annual 535 million tonnes CO2 in 2030 under the Reference scenario to 1,661 million tonnes under the Moderate scenario to 3,100 million tonnes under the advanced scenario.

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