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Global Wind Energy Outlook: The Future of the Wind Industry

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has just released its Global Wind Energy Outlook report for 2012, in which it has studied a number of different, varying scenarios for the future development of the wind industry.

The more ambitious scenarios predict that installed wind capacity could increase by more than four times, from 240GW in 2011, to 1,100GW by 2020. Approximately 11.7%, or 12.6% of global electricity production (depending on the increase in overall electricity production). Less ambitious scenarios for the industry’s growth suggested that capacity would only increase to around 587GW or 759GW.

Steve Sawyer, the Secretary General of the GWEC, has said that due to the cost competitive nature of wind energy in many parts of the world, it will “play a major role in our energy future.”

Related Article: Rural Alaska Shows us the Way for Wind Energy Installations

Sven Teske, the senior energy expert at Greenpeace, has said that “the most important ingredient for the long term success of the wind industry is stable, long term policy, sending a clear signal to investors about the government's vision for the scope and potential for the technology.”

The report not only looks at scenarios for growth, but also considers those in which the industry falls into decline.

The worst case scenario suggests that “absent a new means for putting a global price on carbon, new demand growth in the OECD borne on a strong economic recovery, or some other unforeseen development, the industry's rate of growth will slow substantially in the coming few years.”  the report predicts that growth could remain relatively flat until 2015, and then shrink as much as 10% up until 2020.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com



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