While the large-scale solar market continues to wow, a new report has forecast a near doubling of the world’s installed wind power capacity in the next five years, citing new policy pushes in China and India – and a “roaring back”to form from Australia.
In its Global Wind Report: Annual Market Update, published on Tuesday in Delhi, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) says these initiatives will help deliver a cumulative installed capacity of 800GW by the end of 2021, up from the current total of 486.8GW.
More than 54GW of clean renewable wind power was installed across the global market in 2016. This was expected to increase again in 2017, to almost 60GW of new installations, and then to an annual market of about 75GW by 2021, to bring cumulative installed capacity of over 800GW by the end of 2021.
The growth is expected to be led by Asia, and in particular China. But India, which GWEC says set a new record for installations this past year, could also play a key role in growth, as industry strives to meet the government’s “very ambitious targets”.
In Central and South America, the report named Uruguay and Chile as markets to watch, as well as “the region’s most exciting new market in Argentina.” Africa is also expected to have a big year in 2017, led by Kenya, South Africa and Morocco.
Even Australia gets a mention, for its market that “looks to come roaring back with a strong pipeline of projects to be built out over the next few years.”
In Europe, the “steady” market is expected to get a boost from what GWEC describes as 2016’s “most exciting new development”: the dramatic price reductions for offshore wind.
“Europe will continue to lead the offshore market, but the low prices have attracted the attention of policymakers worldwide, particularly in North America and Asia,” the report said.
“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”, said GWEC secretary general Steve Sawyer.
The report notes that wind power is now operating in more than 90 countries around the world, nine of them with more than 10,000MW installed, and 29 that have now passed the 1,000MW mark. Cumulative capacity grew by 12.6 per cent (year-on-year) to reach a total of 486.8 GW.
“Wind power is now successfully competing with heavily subsidised incumbents across the globe, building new industries, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and leading the way towards a clean energy future,” Sawyer said.
“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.
“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” he said.