The wind power has the potential to supply up to 12 per cent of global electricity by 2020, creating 1.4 million new jobs and reducing carbon emissions by more than 1.5 billion tons per year, more than 5 times today’s level, says a new report.
Greenpeace International and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) released their bi-annual report in Beijing, the Global Wind Energy Outlook, which forecasts an important role of the wind energy sector in the global energy mix. The report, which happens to be the fourth in the series, depicts a picture of three different futures for the wind energy sector, looking at scenarios out to 2020, 2030, and eventually to 2050.
The report tries to measure these scenarios against two different projections for the development of electricity demand- the first based on the World Energy Outlook by International Energy Agency (IEA), and the other one being the more energy efficient future developed by the ECOFYS consultancy and researchers at the University of Utrecht.
Speaking over the prospects of wind energy in the coming years, Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of the GWEC, said, “It is clear that wind energy is going to play a major role in our energy future. But for wind to reach its full potential, governments need to act quickly to address the climate crisis, while there’s still time.”
Sven Teske, Greenpeace senior energy expert said that in order to attain desired success, the wind energy sector needs to be backed with stable, long term policy, sending a positive signal to the investors. “The Global Wind Energy Outlook shows that the industry could employ 2.1 million people by 2020 – 3 times more than today, given the right policy support,” he stated.
The global installed capacity of wind energy totalled 240 GW by the end of 2011, and in all likelihood it is expected that a capacity addition of around 40 GW could be achieved in the year 2012. According to the IEA’s New Policies Scenario, the total wind power capacity is expected to reach 587 GW by 2020, accounting for about 6 per cent of the global electricity. However, GWEC’s Advanced scenario suggests that with the right policy support wind power could reach more than 1,100 GW by 2020, supplying between 11.7 to 12.6 per cent of global electricity.