Nuclear power is often cited as a more rapid option to reduce emissions than renewables such as wind energy. But recent experience shows just how quickly wind energy is overtaking China in four of the fastest growing energy markets in the world – China, India, Brazil and South Africa.
China: from official Chinese sources and from data from the IAEA PRIS data base, wind power production at 153.4 TWh in 2014 was higher than the nuclear production at 130.5 TWh. Shares of the 5,520 TWh electricity production in China in 2014, were 2.78 % for wind and 2.36 % for nuclear.
India: 2014 wind production is an estimate from a conservative capacity factor and from 22,465 MW installed at the end of 2014 according to GWEC. It has now overtaken nuclear, although the industry started more than two decades later.
Brazil: 2014 wind production is an estimate from a conservative capacity factor and from 5,938 MW installed at the end of 2014 according to GWEC. Nuclear production has been relatively static.
South Africa: 2014 nuclear production is an estimate and wind production is an estimate from a conservative capacity factor and from 570 MW installed at the end of 2014 according to GWEC.
Total from China, India, Brazil, South Africa:
So, Some conclusions:
Even with an early start, nuclear power is already surpassed by wind power production in China and in India.
Delays required to decide, to finance and to build new nuclear power plants and the much easier and faster onshore wind power development will lead to a wind power production larger than nuclear in a few years in Brazil and then in South Africa.
As in those four large countries, wind power will remain easier to develop than nuclear energy in small and intermediate developing and emerging countries.
Those tendencies and opportunities will be reinforced by the decreases in wind power investment and kWh costs and by the increases in capacity factors of new onshore wind farms built with the new models of wind turbines of the emerging “Silent Wind Power Revolution” delivering high and very high capacity factors including in light wind speeds areas .
This fast development of clean and affordable onshore wind power production in developing and emerging countries will contribute to lower CO2 emissions resulting from the too high amount of fossil fuels burnt in the world for power production .