A new report from the Global Wind Energy Council and Greenpeace suggests that wind power could account for a full fifth of the world’s energy needs by 2030. Total installed capacity is projected to increase more than fourfold, from 240 GW (end 2011) to 1,100 GW (2020). It could then provide power for as much as 11.7 to 12.6 percent of the world’s electric needs, meaning CO2 emissions reductions of almost 1.7 billion tons.
Less optimistically, total capacity may just reach between 587 and 759 GW, but that’d still account for more than 8 percent of the world’s electricity supply. However, the report stresses the urgent necessity for systematic broad-base government support to ensure that the fledgling industry is allowed to flourish. From CleanTechnica:
Sven Teske, Greenpeace’s senior energy expert: “The most important ingredient for the long term success of the wind industry is stable, long term policy, sending a clear signal to investors about the government’s vision for the scope and potential for the technology.”
Over 2.1 million people are expected to be employed by the wind industry alone, by 2020—account for other renewables sectors like solar, and it appears clean energy sector is bound to become a major world player. Of course, after the explosive early growth, the rates will taper off and stabilize for a bit. In the most pessimistic case, the yearly wind market won’t grow or contract at all through 2015, and after that may shrink as much as 10 percent below 2011 levels by 2020. On the other hand, with efficient government support worldwide, the market could continue growing sharply between 2015-2020, and that means installed capacities between 1,600 and 2,500 GW by 2030.
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