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Wind power could meet 22% of world demand by 2030

Study sees huge potential for greenhouse gas reduction.

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Wind turbines could become a more common sight in years to come.
Wind turbines could become a more common sight in years to come.

 Wind could meet 12 percent of global power demand by 2020, and up to 22 percent by 2030, according to a study published today by the Global Wind Energy Council and Greenpeace International.

The ‘Global Wind Energy Outlook 2010’ finds that wind power could play a key role in satisfying the world’s increasing power demand, while at the same time achieving major greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

The 1,000GW of wind power capacity projected to be installed by 2020 would save as much as 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 every year, says the study. These reductions would represent 50-75 percent of the cumulative emissions reductions that industrialised countries committed to in their 2020 ‘Copenhagen pledges’. By 2030, a total of 34 billion tons of CO2; would be saved by 2,300GW of wind power capacity.

“Wind power can make a massive contribution to global electricity production and to decarbonising the power sector, but we need political commitment to make this happen.” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC’s secretary general. “Wind power technology provides governments with a viable option for truly tackling the challenges of our time and for being part of the energy revolution our planet needs.”

In addition to environmental benefits, wind energy is becoming a substantial factor in economic development, providing more than 600,000 ‘green collar’ jobs today both in direct and indirect employment. By 2030, the number of jobs is projected to increase to over 3 million.

“In 2010 the 600,000 workers of the wind industry put up a new wind turbine every 30 minutes – one in three of those turbines was erected in China1,” said Sven Teske, senior energy expert from Greenpeace International. “By 2030, the market could be three times bigger than today, leading to a EUR202 billion investment. A new turbine every seven minutes – that’s our goal.”

The report was launched in Beijing ahead of the China Wind Power 2010 event. China is now the world’s largest wind power market, and home to the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturing industry. The GWEO 2010 forecasts an increase of up to ten times the current installed capacity in China by 2020, up from just 25GW at the end of 2009.

Wind energy is already a mainstream power generation source in many countries, and it is now deployed in more than 75 countries around the world. “Interestingly, a great proportion of wind power growth is already happening outside of the industrialised world,” said Klaus Rave, GWEC’s chairman. “By 2030, we expect that around half the world’s wind farms will be located in developing countries and emerging economies.”

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