Global wind power capacity could reach 2,000 gigawatts by 2030, supply 17-19% of the world's electricity, create over 2 million jobs and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 3 billion tonnes a year, according to new analysis released by the Global Wind Energy Council and Greenpeace International. By 2050, wind power could provide 25-30% of global electricity supply.
The analysis presents three visions of the future of the global wind energy industry out to 2020, 2030 and up to 2050. The scenarios compare the International Energy Agency's central scenario from its World Energy Outlook with a 'Moderate' and 'Advanced' scenario developed especially for this report, detailing how the global wind industry might deliver in terms of global electricity supply, carbon dioxide emission savings, employment, cost reductions, and investment.
"Wind power has become the least-cost option when adding new capacity to the grid in an increasing number of markets, and prices continue to fall", said the Steve Sawyer, CEO of GWEC. "Given the urgency to cut down CO2 emissions and continued reliance on imported fossil fuels, wind power's pivotal role in the world's future energy supply is assured."
The power sector is responsible for more than 40% of all carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, and about 25% of total greenhouse gas emissions. If global emissions are to peak and decline in this decade, as the science shows is necessary in order to meet climate protection goals, one focus has to be the power sector. Wind power's scalability and its speed of deployment makes it an ideal technology to bring about the early emissions reductions which are required if we are to keep the window open for keeping global mean temperature rise to 2?C or less above pre-industrial levels.
"By 2020, wind power could prevent more than 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted each year by dirty energy - equivalent to the emissions of Germany and Italy combined," said Sven Teske, Greenpeace International senior energy expert. "Policymakers need to provide economic incentives, and also leadership if they are to achieve a credible international climate agreement at next year's Summit in Paris."
Wind energy installations totalled 318 gigawatts (GW) globally by the end of 2013, and the industry is set to grow by another 45 GW in 2014.