World Economic Forum report praises wind power - twice
Onshore and offshore wind are leaders among eight clean energy sectors expected to significantly help the world decarbonise by 2050.
The steady success of wind power was the encouraging message coming out of a report released last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where bankers, politicians, educators, energy officials, labour leaders, environmentalists and others gathered to discuss humankind’s complex problems.
The report, Green Investing: Towards a Clean Energy Infrastructure, rated onshore and offshore wind as number one and number two respectively on the list of large-scale clean power sectors expected to provide a meaningful contribution to the world’s energy mix by mid-century.
The two wind sectors were followed by solar photovoltaic in third place; then solar thermal electricity generation; municipal solar waste-to-energy; sugar-based ethanol; cellulosic and next generation biofuels and geothermal power.
By including wind power at the top of the “emerging shape of the new low-carbon infrastructure,” the WEF report emphatically supports what the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has been saying for years.
Coincidentally, the timing of the report came as EWEA was finalising annual statistics that showed, for the first time ever, that more wind power was installed in the EU than any other generating technology in 2008.
EWEA also reported that there was a total of 64,949 MW of installed wind power capacity in the EU-27 at the end of 2008, of which 19,651 were new additions. Out of that, 8,484 MW (43%) was wind power; 6,932 MW (35%) gas; 2,495 MW (13%) oil; 762 MW (4%) coal, and 473 MW (2%) hydro power.
Noting that necessary investments in wind power, other renewables and energy efficient technologies have already begun, the WEF report said the $33 billion US spent on the power sectors in 2004 had increased to $148 billion US by the end of 2007.
But the report added that at least $515 billion US needs to be invested globally in green energy sectors each year from now until 2030 if global temperature rises are to be kept to 2 degrees Celsius, the level considered manageable by scientists concerned about greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels.
“Investors and policy makers are facing a historic choice,” the report said. “At the very time when commentators are branding green investing as a luxury the world cannot afford, enormous investment in the world’s energy infrastructure is required in order to address the twin threats of energy insecurity and climate change. Waiting for economic recovery, rather than taking decisive action now, will make the future challenge far greater.”
Again, the WEF message reiterates EWEA’s position that EU-27 politicians should use the deepening financial crisis to re-invest in a new green energy revolution that provides a dependable supply of non-polluting wind power to a growing population while also mitigating some of the worst affects of global warming associated with rising CO₂ emissions from fossil fuels.
“The need to shift to a low-carbon economy is stronger than ever,” the report concludes, adding that clean energy technologies are becoming increasingly cost-effective with traditional, polluting fossil fuels. “A carbon price will eventually level the playing field but in the meantime, clean energy solutions require support from policy makers.”
Click here to see the full report.