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The 2016 global wind energy outlook

18 October 2016

wind turbine

• How much of the world’s electricity demand could wind power supply?
• What level of CO2 emissions could be avoided by using wind power?
• How many people could be employed globally by the sector?

These are just some of the questions answered by the 2016 Global Wind Energy Outlook (GWEO) co-authored by ISF’s Dr Sven Teske and launched at China Wind Power in Beijing yesterday.

The GWEO presents future visions for the global wind energy industry out to 2020, 2030 and up to 2050. These scenarios are measured against the International Energy Agency’s New Policies Scenario and their 450 scenario.

The New Policies Scenario is based on an assessment of current directions and intentions of both national and international energy and climate policy, even though they may not yet have been incorporated into formal decisions or enacted into law. This would include the emissions reduction targets adopted in Paris in 2015 for example.

The 450 Scenario sets out an energy pathway consistent with the goal of having about a 50% chance of limiting the global increase in average temperature to 2 °C, which would require the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere to be limited to around 450 parts per million of carbon-dioxide equivalent (ppm CO2-eq) in the long-term.

The Global Wind Energy Council has been producing Global Wind Energy Outlook reports on the future of the industry every two years since 1999. They have found the industry has generally met or exceeded the scenarios presented in earlier reports.

At a time when renewable energy, and wind energy in particular is receiving front-page news treatment in Australia, a thorough and realistic examination of what wind energy can deliver is most welcome.

The 2016 GWEO notes the cost of producing electricity from wind turbines has decreased dramatically in recent years. Wind power is now cheaper than either nuclear or coal-fired power.

In addition to its competitive cost, the 2016 GWEO describes four other drivers for renewable energy.

Jobs: the wind industry already employs more than 1 million people world wide, and it continues to grow as an employer.

Water: unlike other forms of power generation, wind power uses no water.  Coal power plants use more substantially more water than other renewables such as solar PV.

Air pollution: savings to health budgets accrue from reducing the amount of power produced by non-renewable sources like coal or biomass.

Climate change: renewable energy could deliver half of all emission reductions needed to keep temperature rise below 2°C while energy efficiency measures could deliver the other half.

View/download the Global Wind Energy Outlook 2016.

Register now for a webcast with the report’s authors to be held on Monday 24 October.

Over 100 people attended a webinar with report autors Steve Sawyer (Secretary General of GWEC) and Sven Teske for the global launch of the report on 24 October.  A recording of the webinar is accessible for the next 6 months. The link to the recording will take those who have already registered directly to the recording but anyone can fill in the form and access the recording.