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Wind Energy Could Supply 20% Of Global Electricity By 2030

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The Global Wind Energy Council released its biennial Global Wind Energy Outlook today, outlining scenarios where wind could supply 20% of global electricity by 2030. The report looks at four scenarios exploring the future of the wind industry out to 2020, 2030 and 2050.

“Now that the Paris Agreement is coming into force, countries need to get serious about what they committed to last December. Meeting the Paris targets means a completely decarbonised electricity supply well before 2050, and wind power will play the major role in getting us there,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General.

By 2030 wind power could reach 2,110 GW, and supply up to 20% of global electricity, creating 2.4 million new jobs and reducing CO2 emissions by more than 3.3 billion tonnes per year, and attract annual investment of about €200 billion.

With dramatic price decreases in recent years for wind, solar and other renewables, a decarbonized power sector is not only technically feasible, but is economically competitive as well. New markets are developing rapidly across Africa, Asia and Latin America, supplying clean energy to support sustainable development.

“Wind power is the most competitive option for adding new capacity to the grid in a growing number of markets,” continued Sawyer, “but if the Paris agreement targets are to be reached, that means closing fossil fuel fired power plants and replacing them with wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass. That will be the hard part, and governments will have to get serious about it if they are to live up to the commitments to which they have now bound themselves.”

“Decarbonising the global energy system includes the transport sector as a major emitter of carbon. The market for electric mobility, both in regard to electric vehicles as well as public transport, will continue to grow significantly and with this electricity demand for the transport sector. Wind power is in a pole position to supply this future power demand making the wind industry one of the key industries of the energy sector”, said the report’s lead analyst Dr. Sven Teske, Research Principal for the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney.

The new report examines the International Energy Agency’s central scenario from its World Energy Outlook, the New Policies Scenario, and is compared with the IEA’s 450 Scenario, the GWEC Moderate Scenario and the GWEC Advanced Scenario. The results show how the global wind industry will deliver in terms of global electricity supply, CO2 emissions savings, employment, cost reductions, and investment. These four supply-side scenarios are then compared with two different scenarios for the development of electricity demand.

Global wind energy installations totalled 433 GW as of the end of 2015, and the industry is set to grow by another ~60 GW in 2016.

Download Global Wind Energy Outlook 2016 – EN

Download Global Wind Energy Outlook 2016 (executive summary) – CN

25 Comments on "Wind Energy Could Supply 20% Of Global Electricity By 2030"

  1. Sissyfuss on Sun, 23rd Oct 2016 7:28 pm 

    They will need to make the turbines able to withstand Cat 9 hurricanes as in storms of my grandchildren.

  2. makati1 on Sun, 23rd Oct 2016 11:56 pm 

    “Wind Energy Could Supply 20% Of Global Electricity By 2030”

    LMAO! Wrong in so many ways! Never happen. Not even close.

  3. banjo on Mon, 24th Oct 2016 1:46 am 

    Global electricity production is currently around 22,000 Terrwatts or 22,000,000 giga watts. So if you had over 300% increase in wind power from today you would have 0.00001% contribution. LMAO and last I heard you need lots of FF to make renewables.

  4. Davy on Mon, 24th Oct 2016 6:30 am 

    Wind energy in combination with alternative lifestyles is a winner. Wind energy is the easy part. Until the current market based global system realizes the gravity of the problems facing us there is little hope of meaningful changes. Turn on the media and that is clear to anyone with enlightenment. So you add some wind energy but you continue to waste energy on a way of life with no future you are not achieving anything significant.

    It is likely we are in a demand destruction cycle globally meaning slow deflation, dysfunction, and decay. If you disagree with that statement stop reading this comment. In such a situation the possibility of major transitions of anything are slim. It is more likely we will be failing to utilize what we have and consequently have excess capacity on the energy side. Why build out expensive new infrastructure when you have existing capacity? You don’t if you are in an economic decline struggling to pay for what you have now (DEBT). We are not going to have the resources of capital and healthy economy to produce our way into a transition in terms of scale of time and size that optimistic reports constantly mention. Nonetheless any wind energy and solar we build out is a good social goal. In that respect don’t criticize the results just the unrealistic goals.

    What we need to stop is all those discretionary activities and products that have no future. This is where the alternative lifestyle comes in and this is where an end of the status quo comes in. If you disrupt the status quo with a major policy changes ending unneeded activities and products normal markets will fragment in an economic system that is already fragmenting from debt and other financial dysfunction. There will be direct and indirect consequences to industries resulting in layoffs and bankruptcies. These consequences spread and multiply in a velocity of disruption. Hence clear policy must be accompanied with effective education. Much of our consumer and leisure fit this classification. We do not need highly wasteful Disney Worlds, spectator sports, and shopping malls as short examples. Take those examples and apply it across the vast human production we see today. You also see the near impossibility of these changes.

    It is apparent these activities and products will continue and they will be a source of entropic drag ( on our efforts to get a handle on numerous unsustainable metrics of modern life. If we cannot combine lifestyle change with alternative energy then we are not going to achieve concrete goals. What good is continuing the unsustainable by other methods? We are going to continue to talk about lofty goals and achieve more of the same. Since goals require focus we are not going to apply resources and productive capacity as needed to transition in any meaningful way.

    Lifestyle changes may come by trauma both economic and social or in other words a crisis. It is likely by the time we reach a crisis it will be too late to apply economic resources with social focus to achieve much more than reacting to a failing system. Now is the time to make meaningful changes but we cannot even agree on why we need changes pointing to little hope for much change. We will see some change around the edges but not core changes. A more effective strategy is adaptive change at the individual level by the willing and able. Those who are enlightened to these profound problems can make changes to their lives. This may amount to a significant gross roots level of change. If enough people in certain locations make needed changes that location will be transformed. This is what is happening now and is probably all we can hope for.

    The problem is any individual or location must operate and survive within the status quo economy. This then requires a duel track of making a living in the status quo and transitioning. Clear ideas of what we face and what are needed must be realized because this two fold effort does not leave room for error in the pursuit of success. Success is meaningful sustainability and resilience resulting in the realization of adaptive abilities to a collapse process. If you do not see a collapse process ahead then you are not going to make good choices if we are in a collapse process. It is as simple as that. Since the margins are so tight you must accept a failing world and adapt to that. You cannot see a progressing world by other means. This leads to the same dead end of failure.

    Many locations are not making it in the status quo now so there is nothing for them to transition with except attitude. These folks still can turn away from poor lifestyles and attitudes but in most cases these individuals and locations have not had the education so they are still wrapped up in the pursuit of the social narrative of prosperity by political and economic means. For these folks prosperity is the ballot box of job opportunity away. Until there is a broad based social narrative of existential crisis it will only be richer and educated peoples that can make this transition. This group can only make it if they leave the denial that is the basis of the status quo. This leaves very few people hence not much of a future for any of us. We are stuck between a failing system and epic needs of change both requiring huge amounts of inputs at the same time we see shrinking capacity for change. Yet, the biggest rock is in our collective mind and that is denial.

  5. Kenz300 on Mon, 24th Oct 2016 12:48 pm 

    Wind and solar power with battery storage are the future.

    Wind Power Lifting Rig Builders Past Oil’s Downturn

    Solar Cost Hits World’s New Low, Half the Price of Coal

  6. penury on Mon, 24th Oct 2016 3:38 pm 

    I can see wind energy supplying 20 perhaps even 40 per cent of the demand by 2030, what I cannot see is any growth in the use of energy in fact what I see is that there will be a tremendous drop in the use of energy in the next five years. But that will be good, the use of renewables will sky rocket.

  7. makati1 on Mon, 24th Oct 2016 4:50 pm 

    “Statewide blackout in Australia raises questions over renewable energy”
    “Renewables not cost competitive until mid-century: Glencore”
    “The problem with off-shore wind energy”
    “Net metering and the death of US rooftop solar”
    “Could A Lithium Shortage De-Rail The Electric Car Boom?”
    “Study: Wind & Solar up to 5X More Costly than Existing Coal and Nuclear”
    “From solar boom to bill shock: Australians face loss of rooftop payments”
    “Why Renewables Can’t Do It Without Nuclear Power”
    “Australia Considers Banning Wind Power Because It’s Causing Blackouts”
    “British Solar Industry In Jeopardy, 12,500 Jobs Lost”
    And on and on…

    “Renewables” are already dying across the world. When the financial system propping them up crashes, that will end “renewables”.

  8. peakyeast on Mon, 24th Oct 2016 5:04 pm 

    @Mak: If you assembled a fair list with the troubles caused by fossil fuels then the choice would be fairly easy.

    The electrical systems has not been designed for this type of input and obviously they (the utilities) are not up to do the necessesary changes to their infrastructure.

    Also the politicians and endusers are completely fossilized in their habits of consumption.

    Needless to say that all these things will change – simply because they have to.

    So anti-renewables can whine all they want – but if there is to be a slight chance of a future with them then they must adapt.

  9. Harquebus on Mon, 24th Oct 2016 6:11 pm 

    Wind turbines will only be feasible, not viable, so long as there is a steady supply of petroleum products. Once maintenance is no longer possible, they will all fall into disrepair.

  10. makati1 on Mon, 24th Oct 2016 7:58 pm 

    peaky, they will NOT adapt. NO profit, NO electric. Simple. We live in a Capitalist world, not a Communist one. or would you like to switch?

    You can rant against the anti-renewable crowd but you are ranting against reality. Shit happens and our life style is going to be quickly out of stock, forever.

  11. Simon on Tue, 25th Oct 2016 4:06 am 

    in the western world we are building out renewables and expanding the interconnector network.
    We are short on storage, but there are pumped storage stations and people are investigating other systems.
    Renewables are economic and make a fine profit.
    The issue is, how much will we be able to build out before a collapse

  12. makati1 on Tue, 25th Oct 2016 4:38 am 

    Simon, you are aware that many renewables built out in years past are being abandoned because of the problems and their profitability, aren’t you? That number is only going to increase as the countries get desperate for cash. Government/taxpayer subsidies are all that kept renewables going this long.

  13. Simon on Tue, 25th Oct 2016 4:48 am 

    I was not aware.
    So you have a list excluding the USA

  14. peakyeast on Tue, 25th Oct 2016 6:02 am 

    @mak: I agree.

    Capitalism is good at adapting AFTER the TSHTF and in a world of excess resources.

    That is just not a possible way to use this time.

    Besides as I always point out: Energy is one of the lesser problems we are facing, but nonetheless an important indicator.

  15. Davy on Tue, 25th Oct 2016 8:07 am 

    I agree that renewables are becoming a good value and a potent energy source. Storage strategies are in the works and will be improved. Certain regions and locations have the potential to introduce large amounts of renewables. Renewables are the best strategy to sustainability if accompanied with attitude changes with conservation. We have more of a future with renewables.

    Profit is going to be an issue if and when we have a significant economic decline. There is significant denial that a slowdown is coming. I see it clear as day so this is a variable in my thinking on renewables and oil supply and that is demand destruction. It is likely that there will be a crunch period where everything will be cut back on. That is the nature of systematic economic decline. Less macro activity means less production and less government support. The other issue is excess capacity of existing renewable and fossil fuel sources. If the world is in decline less energy is consumed. The existing capacity will be turned to out of necessity. The nice lofty goals of energy transition to cleaner renewables will be on the back burner.

    This becomes a matter of time frame and scale. We are now likely in aggregate degrowth within a growth based situation. Societal diminishing returns and entropic decay are combining to slow growth. We are too big and complex to maintain what we have and build out something new. Economically we have huge amounts of debt and unfunded liabilities that should be considered by traditional standards bad debt. Bad debt is worse than no growth. It has a twofold effect of being a loss but also being a cost to dispose of. We have declining rate of growth itself which is getting dangerously close to actual declining growth. Scale then becomes how much longer can global financial incongruities in the form of debt and unfunded liabilities be maintained to give the illusion of growth. If you realize these bad debts you must have a recession or depression. Time then becomes how long can you postpone an actual recession or depression by deception that there is a problem? How long will actual growth from what is productive on Main Street, excluding the above mentioned financial problems of debt and unfunded liabilities, continue. The other issue is a depression this time around in a complex global system may be the end of modernism and globalism. The real economy is staling ever so slowly and in addition we are running out of QE and rate repression tricks for both financial issues of growth and debt.

    This then becomes an issue of how long do we need to buildout renewables for them to become significant and supportive of temporary sustainability, IOW civilization extenders. We probably don’t need 90%-100% penetration. What we need is 50%-70% penetration. We have fossil fuels and some NUK. The key is fossil fuel reduction to extend modern civilization. We are not going to run out of fossil fuels just what is economic and affordable. We also have to accept regions and nations are going to fail because of a variety of issues some will never see a renewable penetration this then becomes a two tier world of haves and have nots and desperates and those on a lifeboat of “extended” existence.

    I am not buying into a future for modern civilization my thoughts are only extending it through renewables which I feel may happen if we are able to continue the status quo another 10 years or so with a heavy build out of renewables and EV. This will have to be accompanied by attitude changes from both governments and individuals. If we are going to play war games we will ruin the global economy. Individuals will have to start conserving resources much more than is done today. We are going to need luck against other black swans of disaster.

    Renewables can make a difference but likely not a future. We are already cooked on climate change. Anyone who is honest understands the dynamics and the numbers with climate change. The amounts of carbon are so huge as to be unfathomable. The ocean has been so warmed as to never be cooled down by man. Nature has been altered with an extinction event and destructive ecosystem change. Soil degradation, flooding, and drought will devastate stable agriculture. There is no avoiding this and it will only worsen. Our modern world is facing depletion and overpopulation and this cannot be overcome without a devastating die off eventually. Overconsumption and overpopulation are two sides of the same coin with a die off. Rich is bad and too many people is bad for sustainability.

    We can have some more time if we accept some kind of day of reckoning is ahead. This is likely within a decade or two. We can start adapting and mitigating and enjoying what is left. Things could end anytime and it should be our effort to avoid letting it end sooner. Bad decisions will end us now that we are so exposed to so many dangers. Part of this steering is leaving denial and apathy that there is any kind of problem which so many have and denial we can do anything even if you agree there is a problem. We have “Romans at the circus” and “academics in Disney World”. Many are smart and not in denial to the problems but in denial to what technology and progress can do. It is this social narrative of both described denials that keeps the unsustainable promoted. Acceptance of decline and death is the only answer to buying us some life.

  16. Davy on Tue, 25th Oct 2016 8:17 am 

    “Caterpillar Warns Of “Economic Weakness Throughout Much Of The World”, Cuts Guidance”

    As we previewed yesterday when we showed that for 46 consecutive months industrial bellwether Caterpillar has failed to post a retail sales increase… CEO Doug Oberhelman: “Economic weakness throughout much of the world persists and, as a result, most of our end markets remain challenged. In North America, the market has an abundance of used construction equipment, rail customers have a substantial number of idle locomotives, and around the world there are a significant number of idle mining trucks.” “While we are seeing early signals of improvement in some areas, we continue to face a number of challenges”.

  17. makati1 on Tue, 25th Oct 2016 8:25 am 

    Simon, see my list 5 comments above. They are only a few of the ones from the last few months.

  18. peakyeast on Tue, 25th Oct 2016 9:25 am 

    I am still waiting for those cheap “laid off” excavators, backhoes to get sold.

    Mine is from 1984… And it sure is getting old.

    But they are not materialising here in Denmark. Why cant the world go to hell a little faster???? Dammit !

  19. GregT on Tue, 25th Oct 2016 11:11 am 

    Anything that requires non-renewable resources in it’s manufacturing and maintenance, is in of itself non-renewable. Alternate forms of electric power generation are adding to our current energy mix, not replacing it. This isn’t exactly rocket science people.

    “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength.”

  20. peakyeast on Tue, 25th Oct 2016 12:50 pm 

    With a population small enough everything could be produced with renewable power. After all in that case we have vast quantities of already extracted materials. And nature will bounce back.

    All we need to do is for everybody to get rid of the first 99 people they meet tomorrow. – A regulated sorting procedure would of course be better, but I dont see many volunteers. But we all know that and have been through it before.


  21. Kenz300 on Tue, 25th Oct 2016 1:52 pm 

    Wind and solar energy along with battery storage are the future.

    How battery-powered homes are unplugging Australia

    Renewable energy overtakes coal as world’s largest source of power capacity

    Wind Power Lifting Rig Builders Past Oil’s Downturn

  22. Simon on Wed, 26th Oct 2016 7:23 am 

    Hi Mak

    they all seem to be articles saying that renewables are doomed.
    I was hoping for project XXXX in Holland has been scrapped.
    From what I can see this is large thermal power station operators bitching about competition through the medium of the press and thinktanks


  23. makati1 on Wed, 26th Oct 2016 7:59 am 

    Simon, all projects in the future will be under more and more pressure to be profitable as the economies of most countries continue shrinking. Especially those who compete with existing corporations who will also be seeking government funding to stay float. “Renewable energy” will never be

  24. makati1 on Wed, 26th Oct 2016 7:59 am 

    able to support any reasonable percentage of BaU.

  25. Simon on Wed, 26th Oct 2016 9:17 am 

    Hi Mak

    All energy sources (thermal or Renewable) need public funding.
    Latest Nuk. wants 150eur per Mwh three times market rate.
    Renewables dont have the big money behind them


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