Global wind energy industry calls on G8 leaders to show their commitment in the fight against climate change
The global wind industry today called upon German Chancellor Angela Merkel to hold firm in her resolve to have the G8 commit to specific measures to combat global climate change. The G8 Heads of State and Government meet in Heiligendamm, Germany, for their annual summit later this week.
“It is crucial for the G8 leaders to provide clear direction, setting a long term target as well as making the commitment to negotiate legally binding emission reduction targets for the period after 2012. These negotiations must begin this year, and conclude no later than 2009”, said Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council. “The G8 leaders must give their negotiators new and clear instructions, and also send a clear signal to the marketplace and to the public, both of which are demanding clarity and leadership on this global challenge.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recently published Fourth Assessment Report confirmed the urgent need to deploy existing renewable energy technologies at a large scale in order to combat dangerous climate change. As the leading renewable technology, wind power is in a prime position to deliver much needed cuts in CO2 emissions.
Combating climate change makes both environmental and economic sense. With electricity production accounting for 40% of the world’s emissions, the large scale deployment of renewable energies is essential for establishing truly low carbon economies. Setting legally binding targets is a strong driving force behind successful political frameworks for wind power and other renewables, thereby creating investor confidence and enhancing planning certainty for industrial stakeholders and consumers.
”The time between now and 2020 is the critical period when global emissions must peak and then begin to decline. Wind energy can and must play a major role in achieving the goal of keeping global temperature rise below 2° C, and the sector stands ready to do its part,” said Herrmann Albers, President of the German Bundesverband WindEnergie (BWE). “Wind technology is not a dream for the future. It is real, it is mature and it can be deployed on a large scale – here and now.”
Wind energy is booming around the world, with an average annual growth of over 28% in the last 10 years. In 2006, the sector experienced yet another record year, with a growth in installed capacity of over 15 GW, taking the wind energy capacity to 74 GW, up from 59 GW in 2005. The sector attracted investment of over €18 bn (US$23 bn) in 2006.
This development does not only take place in the industrialised world, but also in emerging economies such as India and China, which together now represent nearly 12% of the total global wind installations.
“In China, wind energy is starting to play an important role in providing electricity to fuel our growing economy,” said Li Junfeng, Secretary General of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association (CREIA). “In 2006 alone, the installed capacity in China doubled and has now reached over 2,600 MW. We expect that the government target of installing 5,000 MW by 2010 will already be met towards the end of 2007 and believe that wind could provide as much as 10% of China’s power needs by 2030.”
“Already now, the wind industry is growing very rapidly, but with the right frameworks, wind can supply more than 16% of global electricity needs by 2020. This would save 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions globally in 2020 and make a major contribution to fighting climate change”, said Steve Sawyer. “However, for this to happen, political decisions need to be taken now – we have no time to lose.”