Wind energy successfully competing with heavily subsidized sources – GWEC

Wind power is doing just fine and competing magnificently against other heavily subsidized power sources, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has said.

GWEC said in its flagship publication, ‘Global Wind Report: Annual Market Update,’ which it released on Tuesday in New Delhi India, that there is a strong outlook for wind power which should reach generation capacity of 800 gigawatts (GW) by 2021.

More wind to ‘sail’ power turbines!

GWEC said more than 54GW of clean renewable wind power was installed across the global market in 2016, which now comprises more than 90 countries, including 9 with more than 10,000 megawatts (MW) installed, and 29 which have now passed the 1,000MW mark.

Cumulatively, it explained that global capacity grew by 12.6% to reach a total of 486.8GW in the last year.

“Wind power is now successfully competing with heavily subsidized incumbents across the globe, building new industries, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and leading the way towards a clean energy future,” said GWEC Secretary General, Steve Sawyer.

Disruptive adjustment in the cards

Sawyer however added: “We are well into a period of disruptive change, moving away from power systems centered on a few large, polluting plants towards markets increasingly dominated by a range of widely distributed renewable energy sources. We need to get to a zero emissions power system well before 2050 if we are to meet our climate change and development goals.”

According to the report, wind power penetration levels have continued to increase, led by Denmark pushing 40%, followed by Uruguay, Portugal and Ireland with well over 20%. Spain and Cyprus are doing around 20%, Germany is at 16%; and the big markets of China, the US and Canada have 4%, 5.5%, and 6% of their power from wind, respectively.

GWEC said its rolling five year forecast sees almost 60GW of new wind installations in 2017, rising to an annual market of about 75GW by 2021, to bring cumulative installed capacity to over 800GW by the end of 2021.

Market fundamentals sees more growth in Asia

Growth, according to GWEC, will be led by Asia. It noted that China will continue to lead all markets, but India which set a new record for installations this past year, has a real shot to meet the government’s very ambitious targets for the sector, while a number of exciting new markets in the region with great potentials are expected.

It also explained that market fundamentals are strong in North America, and Europe, adding that Europe will continue to lead the offshore market, but that low prices have attracted the attention of policymakers worldwide, particularly in North America and Asia.

“Offshore wind has had a major price breakthrough in the past year, and looks set to live up to the enormous potential that many have believed in for years. We see the technology continuing to improve and spread beyond its home base in Europe in the next 5-10 years,” continued Sawyer.

The report stated that despite Brazil’s political and economic woes, other countries in the region have stepped up to fill the gap, especially Uruguay, Chile and that the region’s most exciting new market was in Argentina.

Africa, it projected, will have a big year in 2017, led by Kenya, South Africa and Morocco, to keep the future of wind on the continent looking bright.

It stated that after a lull, the Australian market looks to come roaring back with a strong pipeline of projects to be built out over the next few years.

“Overall, we have a lot of confidence in the wind power market going forward, as the technology continues to improve, prices continue to go down and the call for clean, renewable power to reduce emissions, clean our air and create new jobs and new industries only gets stronger with each passing year,” added Sawyer.

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