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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Wind energy continues to gather momentum

Wind energy continues to grow globally, with wind the most competitively priced technology in many if not most markets.

wind energy
Wind turbines in a wind energy farm

According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), the inevitable transition to renewable energy continues to gather momentum with the total global wind energy installation now at almost 540 gigawatts.

The GWEC Secretary General Steve Sawyer says that wind energy is becoming steadily cheaper, and that this benefits consumers and the environment:

“The dramatic price drops for wind technology has put a big squeeze on the profits up and down the whole supply chain”, concluded Sawyer. “But we’re fulfilling our promise to provide the largest quantity of carbon-free electricity at the lowest price. Smaller profit margins are a small price to pay for leading the energy revolution.”

The transition towards renewables such as wind energy is critical to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement which aims to limit the rise of global average temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The report published by the Global Wind Energy Council today says that Europe, India and the offshore sector have had record years.

Chinese installations were down slightly to 19.5 Gigawatts (GW), but the rest of the world made up for most of that.

Markets in locations such as Morocco, India, Mexico and Canada range in the area of USD 0.03/kwh, with a recent Mexican tender coming in with prices below USD 0.02.

GWEC says that India had a very strong year, but will be subject to policy restraints in 2018. Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam all continue to show promise.

Europe had its best year ever, led by more than 6 GW in Germany, a very strong showing in the UK, and a resurgence in the French market. Finland, Belgium, Ireland and Croatia also set new records. Offshore installations of more than 3 GW are an indication of things to come.

The US had a strong year with 7.1 GW. Canada and Mexico both had modest years in terms of installations.

Private co-operations such as Google, Apple, Nike, Facebook, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, etc. are also playing an increasing important role in the renewables market.

In Latin America, Brazil chalked up more than 2 GW, despite political and economic crises. Uruguay completed its build-out and is nearing the 100% renewable energy target in the power sector. The results of 2016 and 2017’s auctions in Argentina will start to result in strong installation numbers in 2018 and beyond.

There was a lot of activity in Africa and the Middle East, but the only completed projects were in South Africa, where 0.621 GW of new capacity was added to the grid. Big projects in Kenya and Morocco are awaiting grid connection this year.

The Pacific region remains quiet, although a lot of new contracts were signed in 2017. Australia, the only active market in the region, put up 0.245 GW.

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