Wind Power Demand Has Optimistic Future

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and Greenpeace unveiled a study recently that says wind could meet 12 percent of global power demand by 2020 and jump to 22 percent by 2030, under their most optimistic scenario.

Global Wind Energy Outlook 2010 was released in Beijing to coincide with the China Wind Power event. China is now not only the world’s biggest wind power market, but it’s also home to the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturing industry, according to the GWEC/Greenpeace press release.

image via Global Wind Energy Council

While the GWEC/Greenpeace vision of 22 percent wind power by 2030 is an eye-catching one, it’s worth noting that that’s the most hopeful of three possibilities offered in the report. A “moderate” estimate — one “which assumes that current targets for renewable energy are successfully met,” would mean 1,777 gigawatts (GW) of wind-generated power by 2030 instead of 2,341 GW. Then there’s the reference estimate, a “scenario based on figures from the International Energy Agency”; it forecasts a paltry 572 GW from wind by 2030.

Thus the statement from GWEC Secretary General Steve Sawyer:  “Wind power can make a massive contribution to global electricity production and to decarbonising the power sector, but we need political commitment to make this happen. Wind power technology provides governments with a viable option for truly tackling the challenges of our time and for being part of the energy revolution our planet needs.”

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.