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Wind To Supply 20% Of Global Power By 2030?

October 20, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




From PEI:


Wind power could supply up to 20 per cent of the world’s power needs by 2030, according to new analysis.



In its latest Wind Energy Outlook, released this week, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) predicted that worldwide wind capacity could reach 2110 GW by 2030, with annual investment in the sector growing to €200bn ($220bn). By 2050, under GWEC’s best-case scenario, global installations could reach 5800 GW.

The world’s wind power installations totalled 433 GW at the end of 2015, with a record number of new projects amounting to 63 GW and representing a 17 per cent increase on 2014, the report found.  China maintained its lead with capacity additions of 30.8 GW and an installed base of 145 GW, followed by the US with 74 GW, Germany with 45 GW, India at 25 GW, Spain with 23 GW and the UK with 13 GW. Also in 2015, Brazil entered the 10 GW+ bracket for the first time.

And the industry is set to grow by around 60 GW in 2016, GWEC predicted. However, challenges still remain for many regional markets. In Europe, where there are 148 GW installed, a cocktail of policy changes, economic crises and austerity measures is viewed as likely to produce a “difficult” year ahead, although a shift in investment away from fossil fuel-fired power could provide a boost, GWEC noted. In Asia, curtailment due to transmission bottlenecks remains a significant problem in the largest market, China, and a slowdown could be seen in 2017. Continuing growth is predicted for North America, where the US is experiencing a ‘wind rush’ due to unwonted policy stability. 

“With new markets developing rapidly across Africa, Asia and Latin America; unprecedented policy stability in the US market; strong and continued commitment from India and China; and the rapidly dropping prices for wind power both on and offshore – on the whole things look very good for the industry,” GWEC said, adding that “but of course much could go wrong…history rarely follows the smooth curves in this and other reports. But at least now the direction of travel is the clearest it has ever been.”

The full report is available here.


We need to remember that the GWEC exists to promote the interests of wind farm operators, so we need to take this with a large pinch of salt. And as they say themselves, but of course much could go wrong…history rarely follows the smooth curves in this and other reports.

The target of 2110 GW is actually derived from their Advanced Scenario, the most optimistic of four. It would imply capacity of 112 GW added each year up to 2030, nearly double that added in 2015.

Their base case, New Policies Scenario, is much more realistic, already taking account of Paris and other commitments made by governments. Under this, wind capacity would be much lower by 2030, at 1259 GW.



But even assuming that the higher projection is correct, there is still another problem. The claim that wind could supply 20% of the world’s power is based on CURRENT electricity consumption.

It is widely accepted that electricity demand will increase sharply in years to come. The BP Energy Outlook reckons that demand will increase by 43% by 2035.

If we assume a figure of 40% for 2030, the claimed 20% share actually drops to 14%. The more realistic New Policies Scenario only amounts to 8%, compared to a current level of 3%.

And, of course, there is one more fly in the ointment – electricity only accounts for a fraction of total energy consumption. According to BP, the share of power generation will be 45%.

In other words, wind power will be unlikely to supply more than 4% of global energy consumption even by 2030.

And the cost for this paltry contribution? $220 billion a year, or $3.3 trillion in total.

  1. Tom O permalink
    October 20, 2016 1:54 pm

    And all of the controls and components end up basically raising the demand for rare earth elements to be extracted from the few areas that they are reasonably abundant. I always thought the term “rare” meant the supply was limited, yet this expansion acts as though the supply is open ended., These same “rare earth elements” are needed for the batteries they will need to store the intermittent output from these farms. And the same elements are needed for the solar panels, and the list goes on.

    Wind and solar are not the way to power the world of the future, and its needs. We are wasting money left and right on “stopgap” projects that should be spent in real research to find HOW to replace carbon fuels as our energy source safely, since they, too, have a finite quantity. But no, we have this knee jerk, assume the fetal position reaction to jump at anything. If the purpose is to eliminate large quantities of human beings from the planet, we are certainly moving in the right direction. If it is to expand civilization and move humanity to a better and more glorious future, we are walking off a cliff.

  2. October 20, 2016 3:13 pm

    ‘wind could supply 20% of the world’s power’ means somewhere between hardly any and a fair bit, at any given moment. Reliability is still going to be left up to ‘traditional’ power sources, however many zillion squillions they throw at wind and solar.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      October 20, 2016 6:42 pm

      Quite right, oldbrew. I spent a good portion of my professional life trying to explain the users that a 99.9% availability was no good to them if the reliability was rubbish. IE: if a system failed for a few seconds every minute its availability could look good but its reliability would be crap.

  3. October 20, 2016 3:38 pm

    Hopefully long before 2030, maybe even by 2020, even the dimmest of politicians will realise what a scam wind turbines are. They don’t reduce CO2 emissions, they provide intermittent electricity that is unaffordable and they are extremely damaging to grid stability. One can but hope, but there are too many troughers in power to be confident that sanity will prevail.

  4. AlecM permalink
    October 20, 2016 4:24 pm

    Yeah but, no but, by then energy consumption has to fall by 90%…….

    • Gamecock permalink
      October 20, 2016 6:05 pm

      Yep, you can always up the percentage by whacking the denominator. The West is actively trying to kill coal, and some are even trying to kill nat gas.

      • AlecM permalink
        October 21, 2016 9:03 am

        The EU plans to reduce energy consumption by a third despite rise in population. What’s more, all the energy will be renewable, so intermittent.

        The only way out is to allow 100s of millions to die early, which is the plan of the Globalists.

        And what better way to do that than to cause 30 years of intense civil war as Moslems are promised their Caliphate will include Europe.

        At least in the UK, many Moslems are English speakers and accept Common Law, so will act against the Salafi killers. Best to divorce the EUSSR, then set up a new Marshall Plan when it and the windmill plan die.

  5. October 20, 2016 4:52 pm

    This cannot happen by then. Wind provides no grid inertia. South Australia’s blackout in September shows what happens without grid inertia. Supplying sufficient synchronous condenser capacity to provide it would nearly double the cost of the wind turbines themselves. Technically and economically infeasibe. Wind industry propaganda. Without subsidies, there is no wind industry in the first place.

  6. A C Osborn permalink
    October 20, 2016 6:04 pm

    The reality is this.

    Global Investment in RE crashes 43% in the 3rd quarter of 2016.

  7. manicbeancounter permalink
    October 20, 2016 6:31 pm

    With 433GW of wind capacity at the end of 2015, it is not difficult to get to estimates of 2110GW in 2030 and 5800GW is 2050. You just assume compound growth rates of 11% for 2016 to 2030 and 5.5% from 2031 to 2050. Most long-term estimates in climate are as crude as this, and as unrelated to real world assumptions.

  8. October 20, 2016 6:35 pm

    I for one do not want to rely on fairy pharts for my electricity.

  9. October 20, 2016 7:45 pm

    ‘worldwide wind capacity could reach 2110 GW by 2030’

    Note the weasel word ‘capacity’. Actual output is likely to be around a third of that +/- a bit.

    • 1saveenergy permalink
      October 21, 2016 12:52 am

      & the other weasel word… ‘COULD’….means won’t or can’t.

    • AlecM permalink
      October 21, 2016 9:04 am

      More likely 12% including losses and performance degradation with time.

  10. October 21, 2016 10:48 am

    Electric cars, electric trains, electric heating, electric everything……from where will they get all this electricity?

    How about an electric aeroplane?

    “Now and then giant ocean creatures wash up on beaches in a horrible mess. At Kalaeloa Airport on Oahu (Hawaii) a similar but aerial creature has washed up in an airport hangar. It’s the Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered plane with a wingspan nearly as long as an Airbus A380’s. But it weighs rather less than a Toyota Land Cruiser and has so far cost its sponsors about $US250 million.”

    How about electric arc furnaces for making the steel for wind turbines?

    “Steel scrap (or other ferrous material) is first tipped into the EAF from an overhead crane. A lid is then swung into position over the furnace. This lid contains electrodes which are lowered into the furnace. An electric current is passed through the electrodes to form an arc. The heat generated by this arc melts the scrap. The electricity needed for this process is enough to power a town with a population of 100,000.”

    • Gerry, England permalink
      October 21, 2016 12:48 pm

      How long did Solar Impulse 2 take to fly around the globe? So a return to sailing ships then as they will be quicker.

    • John189 permalink
      October 21, 2016 2:17 pm

      Hence the reason why the proponents of windfarms are always eager to measure their effectiveness by the number of homes they can power. Although even these claims are misleading as they invariably refer to installed capacity rather than actual output.

      • October 21, 2016 7:44 pm

        Also the “homes” bit ignores all the other consumers of energy, such as industry, transport, govt and commerce.

        Domestic use accounts for about a quarter. So let us suppose that we can all get all of the power we need to run our homes from renewables, how will we manage when there we have no jobs to go to, no stuff for us to buy, and no transport to get us there?

  11. October 21, 2016 11:41 am

    “Wind power could supply up to 20 per cent of the world’s power needs by 2030, according to new analysis.”
    I could have up to £100 million in the bank by 2030 (“up to” includes zero).

  12. Vanessa permalink
    October 21, 2016 3:49 pm

    These “dimwits” may get a nasty shock in about 2025 if The Express is to be believed! It says scientists have discovered that because there are virtually no sunspots the world is going to experience another “little ice age”. No doubt all these politicians will be long out of power but we will have to put up with insufficient energy and at a price most cannot afford. Is this their way of controlling the population ?!!

  13. roger permalink
    October 21, 2016 4:07 pm

    The Dutch appear to prefer to use coal, at least for the time being.
    Warnings of a hard european winter to come seem to be resonating with our old EU friends, who, not for the first time are cooking the books to stay warm!

  14. October 22, 2016 9:39 pm

    20% of almost nothing, when you do not need it, is of benefit how? Has even one wind farm thingy ever paid for itself? Wind coupling to electrical generation is horribly inefficient!
    No useful power, but ‘lotsa waste heat’ downwind, to turn vegetation into desert.
    Has anyone ever reported the downside ‘tipping point’ of such foolishness? It is doubtful that Earth’s rotational inertia will be affected much, but check with your local tornado/hurricane commission to learn of efficient method of spreading stupid Earthling construction about most of the county!!

  15. AndyG55 permalink
    October 22, 2016 11:08 pm

    Apparently there are over 14,000 abandoned wind turbines in the US alone..

    Who is ever going to tidy up this MESS. !!

  16. Roy Hartwell permalink
    October 24, 2016 12:39 pm

    Slightly off-topic but was listening to an interview on Radio 4 You and Yours today with a man in Oxford who was extolling the virtues of his solar panel / battery storage home system. Powered all his home appliances at night as well as charging his electric car for the next day.When asked how much this saved him he replied…and without this being questioned by the interviewer….£100 a year !! Now my back-of-a-fag-packet calculation suggests this would equate to less than 10% of his electricity supply being produced by this system so where is the rest coming from !!

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